While Brendle Group has always advocated implementation over extended analysis when it comes to efficiency programs – flipping the traditional study/implementation method on its head − this approach also is recognized and holding steady for many of our customers that include municipalities, schools, and especially utilities interested in reaching and engaging their underserved small business customers. In fact, small business implementation programs make the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project’s list of best practice electric utility energy efficiency programs that, combined, have the potential to generate $20 billion in net benefits in the southwestern region.
Because implementation and program uptake are so important, Brendle Group continues to work with customers on programs that focus on getting projects done quickly. For example, our support for the City and County of Denver’s Denver Energy Challenge includes piloting a small building tune-up offering that addresses common HVAC system adjustments and other low-cost actions that can make an immediate difference in building energy and water consumption for customers. This pilot is much like our continuing work with Platte River Power Authority and its member cities where we have successfully piloted the tune-up concept and are working with the utility to develop the program into a standard part of its demand side management (DSM) offerings. The program provides customers quick, streamlined, and cost-effective ways to save energy and water while also building contractor awareness and capacity in the areas of energy and water conservation. Platte River’s post-pilot analysis of actual savings based on utility data indicates an average annual electric savings of 4% and a simple payback of 1.3 years for tune-up participants! And these numbers don’t include savings from reduced natural gas and water consumption, which provide customers even greater savings. Both the Platte River and Denver Energy Challenge programs benefit from Brendle Group’s early pilot work with the City of Boulder that has informed Boulder County’s current HVAC optimization offering.
Another exciting trend for us is working with utilities, such as Xcel Energy, and their customer communities to develop and implement community energy plans that incorporate utility DSM programs in their conservation strategies. We are developing planning tools, guidelines, strategies, and metrics for setting and achieving conservation goals. And we believe these plans will increase penetration of existing utility DSM offerings by engaging a variety of stakeholders and encouraging implementation across entire communities. The idea is to leverage increased interest in community-scale energy planning and the important role of utilities in post-ARRA times.