What Energy Efficiency Program Implementers Should Look For In A Technology Partner

It’s not easy being an energy consultant or program implementer. You’re expected to do everything from providing grid optimization services, to implementing next-generation demand response and even distributed energy resources programs. Demand side management (DSM) programming has never been more complex. As such, having the right technology stack to participate in RFP bids successfully is crucial in making sure that your solutions come to fruition.

The days of DSM programs working in silos are behind us. Today, the modern implementer is working with forward-thinking utilities who are each to embrace the modern challenge of anticipating a customer’s needs before they even have them. Portfolio-level solutions need to be implemented by anticipating industry trends, and this is key to engaging the end consumer.

Our team of energy efficiency professionals at EnergyX have worked in a variety of sectors, including utilities and energy consultancies. Universally, we agreed that the following three characteristics were key when it comes to finding the right technology partner for implementers... 

A Customer-Centric Approach to Program Design and Marketing

New-age, disruptive tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning are no longer the “flash”. They’re the norm, and the sooner utilities are able to implement them, the happier their customers will be. In order to deliver the specific energy recommendations customers need (or rather, didn’t even know their home needed), implementers need to keep in mind that customers are at the heart of any good program.

 The correct technology to deliver such programs need ask the following approach to implementing technology and engaging customers:

  • Is the platform they are using data-driven?

  • Are they leveraging the power of data science to give insights that are specific, relevant and timely to the consumer?

  • Are they configurable to a variety of challenges that the utility partner will face?

Most importantly, when it comes to metrics, look for a company that has a proven track record of customer engagement and mining customer insights. Is the technology platform constantly learning from the data it gets from its customers? If not, there is no chance that it will be able to give customers what they truly want and inspire them to action.

Specific Energy Recommendations

 And what this means is providing specific, relevant information for building owners right when they need it. The days of blasting out flyers for siloed programs are long gone. Utilities and program implementers alike are quickly realizing that customers don’t respond well to generalized program recommendations. The traditional approach to demand side management has been too fragmented for the average customer to understand.

 A technology partner needs to offer utilities the technological customization, grid optimization programs and efficiency products they need to properly engage customers. Program implementers have a key role to play when it comes to fostering innovation with DSM program design. Finding the right technology partner to make that dream a reality is crucial.

A Versatile, Seamless Platform Across All Programs

 Different utility partners face different business challenges, and that’s why when participating in RFPs for energy efficiency program management, it’s crucial to ensure that you have a technology partner that can do a bit of everything.

 For example, participating in an RFP for running an energy efficiency program would necessitate an online energy audit or energy scan. However, it’s important to remember that lead generation is just one part of a successful DSM program. You want to remember that contractors and service organization partners are also essential to program fulfilment, so you’ll want to look for a partner that can also do that as well.

 The Right Technology Makes “Zero Waste” Programming Possible

 There’s a lot of talk about how zero energy homes are becoming cost-effective. Perhaps utilities, program implementers and technology partners can work towards something even greater: “zero waste” energy efficiency programs that produce as much energy savings as the amount of money that was spent designing and implementing them.

Bruce Chen