How does big change happen? It starts with a strategy, a plan, and accurate methods for evaluating success. All three are essential to transform us from an energy-squandering populace to an energy-efficient one. Government, utilities, and the energy industry are turning to experts to help get the job done right.
What does an energy-efficient economy look like, and how do we move from where we are to where we want to be? California faces a labyrinth of possible paths, with barriers at every turn. Choosing the right avenue, assessing our choices, and envisioning our next steps are critical.
CIEE is fueling progress in strategic planning and evaluation, with the California Public Utilities Commission as its primary partner. The commission defines the real-world obstacles to energy efficiency, and CIEE responds, connecting policy goals and research to spark solutions.
The portfolio of projects is diverse. CIEE studies of market effects assess whether consumers are adopting energy efficiencies, if new products are penetrating the market, if changes in the energy market are generating “spillover” savings in other areas of the economy, and if positive changes can be sustained, permanently transforming the energy market.
Addressing incentives and behaviors, CIEE investigations include financing options for home energy efficiencies, partnerships for small-business retrofits, and motivators for individual and organizational change — and for sustaining innovation.
CIEE efforts are also examining the “embedded” costs of energy, focusing on energy and water. It takes energy to bring water to Californians, and that cost is passed on in our water bills. Should California step up energy-efficiency efforts in this area? Would the payoff be worth the investment? CIEE studies are yielding answers.
In each of these areas, sound policy and programs rely on research-based methods for evaluating success. CIEE is supplying these methods, and training a new generation of evaluators to carry the effort into the future.