Market Research and Evaluation Reports
Providing market-critical data
NEEA's market research drives our programming, defines the challenges within our work, and provides critical market data and analyses about regional energy consumption for NEEA and our stakeholders.
Our evaluation reports assess our current initiatives to ensure we achieve our goals in a cost effective manner. Our Long-Term Monitoring and Tracking Reports measure the continued energy savings delivered by NEEA's previously-funded initiatives.
NEEA’s Emerging Technology Reports document the exploratory work we do to assess and develop market intervention concepts for emerging technologies. These reports typically are not based on statistically valid market research. When we find a promising technology, additional, disciplined, and statistically valid market research is completed to benchmark performance and savings, understand market conditions and barriers, and test intervention strategies associated with a market transformation initiative.
Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) conducts a semi-annual survey to assess how its stakeholders perceive NEEA’s value delivery to the region, its communications with stakeholders, and staff interactions. The result of the study conducted in April 2016 shows that overall satisfaction with the alliance has improved. However, survey respondents indicate that the value delivered by the alliance is not always clear, and that NEEA staff require a better understanding of local conditions and programs. NEEA takes stakeholder feedback seriously, and will continue periodic evaluations like this to inform the organization’s goals of continuous improvement.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) participated in the Department of Energy rulemaking on the Non-Residential Small Electric Motors Standard. The rule was released in 2010 and compliance with it was required beginning in 2015. NEEA engaged Cadmus in November 2015 to conduct an assessment of NEEA’s effort and influence on the rulemaking.
1. Determined whether NEEA influenced adoption of the standard;
2. Enhanced NEEA’s understanding of the appropriateness and effectiveness of its efforts to influence the standard; and
3. Developed an influence score for Non-Residential Small Electric Motors Standard.
The methodology used to estimate NEEA’s influence in establishing this standard was an initial attempt to devise a cost effective and repeatable approach to quantifying this essentially qualitative process. Subsequent studies will review alternative approaches. Cadmus reports that NEEA was effective as a technically knowledgeable resource, and that it served as an intermediary in facilitating issues discussion and exploring technically and economically viable options with a variety of opposing stakeholders.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance is leading a regional effort called Next Step Homes. The program encourages the design and construction of homes that are capable of achieving energy efficiencies significantly greater than required by current code.
Energy 350 conducted a savings validation study for the 12 homes constructed in Phase I of the program. Modeling of energy consumption was completed using a widely-available tool (REM Rate), modified for Northwest conditions. This evaluation found on average these homes were 30 percent more efficient than code built homes.
The evaluation also found that the modeling tool provided reliable results, but that it could benefit from targeted modifications, for example, allowing for modelers to schedule mechanical equipment individually.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance contracted Ecotope, Inc. to conduct a small pilot study to develop and test a methodology for commercial energy code evaluation. This objective supports the growing focus on energy code as a key strategy for meeting energy planning and performance goals.
The researchers point out that code is successful to the degree that it is well-developed, adopted in a timely manner, supported in implementation and broadly accepted by market actors (i.e., compliance), and that a competent methodology must address each of these elements.
Typically, current approaches to code assessment have focused only on measuring compliance. The methodology developed from this study embodies a more broad-based, integrated approach, including a cost-effective field review and compliance assessment of completed buildings with additional assessments of the enforcement/implementation environment, and post-occupancy energy performance.
This report analyzes the persistence of implemented activities and electricity savings for NEEA’s Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Strategic Energy Management (SEM) efforts of the Market Partners Program (MPP) cohort. The project included surveys with MPP firm executives, analyzing billing data from participating buildings and from a control group of similar commercial nonparticipating buildings.
In 2014, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance began implementing the Retail Products Portfolio (RPP) pilot. The RPP initiative targets select consumer electronics and appliance product categories, and offers incentives to large, chain retailers for each unit within those categories sold in the Northwest that meets a pilot-defined energy efficiency threshold. Through these incentives, the pilot hopes to influence retailers’ corporate-level decision-making around product assortment and promotion in ways that favor efficient products. Ultimately, the goal of RPP is to influence manufacturers through the specification setting process to produce more efficient products on a larger scale.
This evaluation focused on activities of the pilot in 2014, with some focus on 2015, including how a national effort from Environmental Protection Agency to expand the scale of the program in 2016 fits into the overall context of this initiative. Key findings of this evaluation include evidence that the mechanisms are in place for RPP to influence retailer decisions in the area of promotion and assortment, and that scale and influence are interrelated and scale is a critical component of the initiative.
The primary goal of the Next Step Homes initiative is to identify best practices and advanced technologies that the region can adopt into building codes over the next three to four code cycles. To encourage builders to incorporate high performance features into their new projects and to accelerate adoption of advanced energy-efficient building practices and technologies, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance commissioned Curtis Research Associates to investigate the motivations and obstacles to building more energy-efficient homes.
Results from focus group discussions held in Portland, Seattle and Spokane suggest that builders have different motivations to build higher than existing code standards such as differentiating themselves in the marketplace, or strong personal ethics that favor energy efficient building practices.
Common challenges to building above code homes include higher costs, appraisers’ inability to assess higher value to more efficient homes, and lack of buyers’ awareness or appreciation of energy-efficient homes.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance commissioned a study to assess the appeal and potential viability of the Certified Refrigeration Energy Specialist initiative, designed to certify refrigeration professionals to optimize the energy efficiency of the refrigeration systems in their respective plants, to capture both energy and cost savings.
This report presents an assessment of the initiative’s potential appeal to key market actors/segments including refrigeration facility managers, operators, technicians, engineers, and service providers. The study found the initiative has the potential to succeed with its goal based on good early awareness of the initiative, interest among operators and technicians in professional development and openness of management to support efforts to improve operational and energy efficiency within their facilities.
Since 2007, NEEA has offered the Commercial Real Estate initiative to encourage the Northwest’s commercial real estate market to adopt Strategic Energy Management practices to reduce energy use. This report documents validated 2014 savings from the Commercial Real Estate initiative. The office competition cohort saved 0.772 aMW during 2014, equivalent to 4.09 percent of building consumption. The market partners’ program cohort saved 0.611 aMW during 2014 equivalent to 5.54 percent of building consumption.
Both results are statistically significant.
The first Market Progress Evaluation Report of the Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH) Initiative concludes that over 4,000 tier 1 units sold in the region through a manufacturer markdown in the first year and a half;most of these purchases were not the result of an emergency;over half (54 percent) of HPWH purchasers interviewed for this study replaced an existing water heater because it was getting old and was reaching the end of its useful life; manufacturers are engaged and eager to meet higher Northern Climate Specification tiers; and market actors agree that the update to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act federal standard for large tank electric water heaters is likely to have an impact on sales in the near- and long-term, though in their view, consumer awareness of HPWHs in general is presently low.
This report evaluates the Reduced Wattage Lamp Replacement demonstration project, a market test of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s initiative to transform the general service fluorescent T8 lamp market and make reduced wattage T8 lamps the market standard in the lamp replacement market. The key conclusions are the Reduced Wattage Lamp Replacement initiative is a viable and needed effort; the initiative’s focus on distributors is a good strategy, but additional demand-side interventions would be beneficial for market transformation; the market shift initiative is not a viable initiative strategy due to the high variability in sales over time and declining overall T8 lamp sales; and the initiative process ran smoothly, resulting in high distributor satisfaction with the initiative.
This is the third Market Progress Evaluation Report (MPER) of the Building Operator Certification Expansion Initiative. The Northwest Energy Efficiency Council, Northwest Water and Energy Education Institute, and the International Building Operators Association have offered Building Operator Certification (BOC) training and certification to facility operators in the Northwest since 1997. In 2012, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance established BOC-E to accelerate adoption of BOC and increase its market penetration in the Northwest.
This report offers several important findings. The building operator market is larger than previously estimated. With new and updated data, the new estimate of the market size is more than 20,000 operators. With about 2,400 currently employed BOC operators, market penetration is about 12 percent. Levels in Idaho and Montana are similar to Washington and Oregon. This resolves an incongruous finding from MPER #2 that suggested a much higher penetration rate in Idaho and Montana than in Washington and Oregon. The average per-operator natural gas (therm) savings for Idaho and Montana is about 8 percent - twice as high as in Washington and Oregon. Electricity savings are about the same for the two sub-regions. This report makes several recommendations including expanding efforts to increase employer support of BOC participation and renewal, particularly among large employers.
The sixth residential lighting tracking and monitoring study conducted since NEEA ended funding the ENERGY STAR® Consumer Products Lighting Project in early 2008 concludes that ENERGY STAR Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) sales declined in the region between 2013 and 2014;
CFL sales will likely continue to decrease; big box stores still dominate the region’s residential ENERGY STAR CFL sales; incandescent lamps continue to dominate store inventories, although their retail presence is declining year over year; halogen lamps and Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamp sales are on the rise; and consumer awareness of LEDs in the Northwest is high at 94 percent, with 35 percent of respondents indicating they had purchased an LED bulb in the last 12 months.
The Existing Building Renewal initiative is designed to achieve whole-building deep energy efficiency retrofits through the integration of energy savings strategies across building systems. This third-party evaluation report validates the 2014 energy savings for two demonstration buildings, one in Idaho and one in Montana. The study revealed that the building in Idaho showed a small amount of electric savings and 808 Therms of natural gas savings. The Montana building showed no electric savings due to certain malfunctions, but showed 19,979 Therms of natural gas savings. The report concludes that over the long-term, commissioning Existing Building Renewal buildings could give the region confidence that these projects sustain savings at expected levels and that new energy efficiency measures are performing properly.
The fourth Market Progress Evaluation Report of the Ductless Heat Pump (DHP) Initiative concludes that the initiative continues to exhibit a positive influence on the market. Key findings include: general consumer awareness of DHPs remains steady since 2013, fifty-two percent of installers perceive increased customer interest in DHPs (up from 43 percent in 2013), customer satisfaction with their DHP is nearly 95 percent, nearly three-quarters of respondents have recommended a DHP to others, and suppliers indicated that the initiative directly influences their marketing efforts.
Overall, Master Installers (defined as those that complete orientation and best practices training) install the most units – nearly 40 percent installed more than 20 units in 2014, compared to non-master installers with only 2 percent installing more than 20 units in 2014. Word of mouth appears to be the primary source of information, with eight percent of respondents saying they will definitely purchase a unit, and 85 percent seriously considering a purchase.