Using Building Size to Optimize Electric Utility Energy Efficiency Incentives
Electric utilities and government agencies across the U.S. offer financial incentives and subsidies to help end users offset the cost of energy efficiency measures (EEMs) installed in their facilities. These demand- side management programs are designed to reduce overall energy use to decrease strain on the grid, increase resiliency, meet regulatory requirements, and save money for both the utility and their customers. However, many utilities do not tailor their incentive programs to serve the needs of different building sizes. This occurs despite their customers’ varying energy profiles, economic and staffing resources, appetite for specific technologies, and overall organizational goals. The EEMs and savings potential for small buildings have less complicated building systems and generally fewer resources for energy upgrades. They are not the same as those for large buildings with more complex energy systems and dedicated building engineering staff. Our study reviews common utility energy efficiency incentive structures and analyzes the lighting and cooling equipment in small, medium and large commercial buildings. It proposes that optimizing incentives for building size can help utility policy-makers increase the enrollment, cost effectiveness and overall energy savings of their energy efficiency programs.
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