HARC's Gavin Dillingham, Program Director, Clean Energy Policy, participated on a panel for Smart Building Technologies at the Third Annual UT Energy Week in Austin on February 8th.
Utility Small Commercial Energy Efficiency Program
HARC is working with a large regional electrical utility to evaluate cost effective options for improving the energy efficiency of small commercial buildings (less than 50,000 square feet). More than 50% of the commercial building stock in the US is in this size range. Small building owners often lack the time, capital, and resources to spend on energy efficiency measures, and there are few resources and tools tailored to their needs. To overcome these barriers, HARC is going to do a market assessment to characterize the types of buildings in this sector in one large urban market. HARC is going to conduct research on existing programs in the United States to evaluate their relative strengths and weaknesses. HARC is going to collect primary data from building owners and operators to determine the general knowledge and interest in energy efficiency for their buildings. HARC is also going to talk to energy efficiency vendors to see what they think are the challenges and opportunities in the small commercial market. Finally, the HARC team will look at different potential program designed for a small commercial pilot program. We will evaluate the costs and benefits of:
- The utility providing the services of an energy manager to small commercial properties
- The utility providing funds to help small commercial properties hire and energy manager, with the level of funding based on the expected energy savings provided
- The utility provides a direct install program that is a prescriptive turnkey solution that makes it easy and affordable for small customers to upgrade specific equipment.
The final project will also include a description of how the utility can monitor and measure the effectiveness of any pilot program that is implemented, so that they can determine if it is appropriate for expansion.
HARC and the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) will present the Community Efficiency Leaders Workshop - Water & Energy Best Practices at Houston-Galveston Area Council on July 21, 2016.