The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has recognized two Focus on Energy programs as being among the best in the nation.
The ACEEE conducted a national review and identified 53 programs it deems are exemplary, based on their effectiveness and innovation in helping customers achieve greater levels of energy efficiency. The list includes Focus on Energy’s Retail Lighting and Appliance and Large Energy Users programs.
“These programs are delivering energy savings that help customers reduce their costs and maintain comfortable, durable, safe homes and productive businesses. They also make an important environmental contribution by reducing pollution from the use of fossil fuels,” said Rachel Gold, ACEEE’s utilities program senior manager.
Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program, established its Retail Lighting and Appliance program in 2011. The program has offered incentives for ENERGY STAR-certified LED lightbulbs at retail locations, a $75 rebate for smart thermostats (online or at retail locations), an online appliance research marketplace and participation in the ENERGY STAR Retail Products Platform pilot.
The program has been very popular, evidenced by a 2016 evaluation that found Wisconsin was first among 38 states studied for LED market share. It has also saved a tremendous amount of energy, with lifecycle electric energy savings from 2014 to 2016 totaling more than 4.23 billion kilowatt hours. That’s enough to meet the electrical needs of 522,625 homes for a full year.
“Constant improvement for customers is a program hallmark,” said Keith Cronin, a program manager at Focus on Energy. “We’ve made instant lighting discounts available everywhere in Wisconsin via over 1,000 retailers, including chains (big-box and value), independent stores and an online retailer. We helped educate Wisconsinites about ENERGY STAR-certified LEDs through more than 100 in-store lighting demonstrations, and pop-up retail events with Wisconsin’s largest companies and utilities provided rebated products and one-on-one customer engagement.”
This marks the third ACEEE Award for Focus on Energy’s Large Energy Users program, which was also honored in the ACEEE’s two preceding national reviews in 2013 and 2008.
The program offers energy expertise and financial incentives to about 750 unique customers at 1,200 facilities across Wisconsin, including manufacturers, healthcare networks, university campuses and large commercial facilities. Projects include everything from upgrading to more efficient lighting and refrigeration equipment to manufacturing process changes and strategic energy management.
The LEU program boasts high levels of year-to-year participation and customer satisfaction. For projects completed between 2015 and 2017, LEU customers will see estimated lifecycle energy savings of more than 6.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and more than 553 thousand therms of natural gas. Those electricity and natural gas savings, combined, equate to more than 8.2 billion pounds of burned coal.
“Early on, Wisconsin established a statewide approach for the Focus on Energy program,” said John Nicol, the LEU program director. “This has allowed the Large Energy User program to work closely with manufacturing associations and the utilities in the state to bring effective offerings to our customers. It has also allowed us the flexibility to be more innovative in our approach, resulting in one of the most cost-effective programs in the country.”