A McKinsey Consulting publication urges utilities to take new tactics to engage U.S. consumers and save energy
2. Present aggregated offers to become a trusted source of offer inventory.
3. Make offers available online, in-store and on mobile platforms.
4. Make it drop-dead easy to take advantage of the offer – make fulfillment instant.
A recent policy brief from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) provides a concise state by state snapshot of these energy savings targets called EERS. These state level commitments are considered one of the key drivers in energy efficiency program spending. And, rebates are a component of that portfolio spending.
To date, 24 states have enacted long-term (3+ yrs), binding energy savings targets (see the map above). These states comprise 67% of electricity sales in the U.S. And, most states are currently meeting or are on track to meet energy saving goals. According to another ACEEE report, 12 states are going further, ramping up policies and programs to achieve aggressive EERS targets.
Total energy efficiency program spending is projected to doubled to $9.5B by 2025 according to a report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
With aggressive EERS targets, program sponsors will be on the hook to drive increased consumer engagement that achieves savings. A 2013 priority will be to transition rebate programs from traditional 'mail-in' style to instant at point of sale, and target an evolving mix of high-efficiency products.
Also, EE programs and savings targets will become more evenly distributed across the country. Energy efficiency program spending has long been concentrated in a handful of states located in the Northeast and West. EERS policies are driving change with momentum in Midwestern states - with more aggressive EERS driving more spending - and Southern states with new state EERS initiatives launching. Programs that leverage consumer engagement tools (like Rebate Finder) will be well-positioned to meet these regional needs with localized and product specific incentives.
Consumers want to save money and lower their annual utility bill, even as they add energy consuming devices to their homes. Today's efficient appliances, HVAC systems and lighting products all operate with less energy. Just like rebate offers, giving consumers energy savings information - like the this widget - helps activate specific product purchase decisions.
Providing an energy savings calculation alongside (or embedded within) our web+mobile Rebate Finder tools can guide consumers to identify and quantify both the up-front rebate savings as well as the lower annual energy costs on high-efficiency products.
EcoRebates data already includes energy consumption for over 200,000 products. Combined with our location-aware technology and regional energy cost data, an energy savings calculation is an easy add-on to new or existing Rebate Finder deployment.
Here are three ways to leverage energy savings calculations and help consumers make efficient product purchase decisions.
1. Promote Savings Early in the Purchase Process
Consumers shop first for products, then for energy savings. Energy savings calculations that are contained on web and mobile product pages will be visible during the research phase. Consumers should be able to use a local estimate of energy savings as a tool to compare among similar product (e.g., which of these two HVAC systems has lower operating costs?)
2. Automate and Simplify the Savings Calculation
Energy costs vary regionally and exact savings will change by product specification, features and even usage. But consumers need something simple to guide them. Rather than requiring consumers to input information, energy savings that populate automatically (just as 'Available Rebates' do) can more effectively influence purchases. And, savings are more memorable if they are also translated into a recognizable metric such as equivalent 'trees saved' or 'cars taken off the road'.
3. Make info Mobile Accessible
Consumers' path to purchase has become more fluid as they rely on multiple devices and formats, including in-store engagement with sales associates. Since energy savings calculations are one piece of information consumers will use to make a purchase decision, it is important to provide it across all accessible formats, especially mobile.