Argonne National Laboratory

Commercial Midstream Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs

TitleCommercial Midstream Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMilostan, C, Levin, T, Muehleisen, R, Guzowski, L
Date Published11/2017
InstitutionArgonne National Laboratory
CityLemont, IL USA
Report NumberANL/ESD-17/24

Guidelines for Future Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation

Many electric utilities operate energy efficiency incentive programs that encourage increased dissemination and use of energy-efficient (EE) products in their service territories. The programs can be segmented into three broad categories—downstream incentive programs target product end users, midstream programs target product distributors, and upstream programs target product manufacturers. Traditional downstream programs have had difficulty engaging Small Business/Small Portfolio (SBSP) audiences, and an opportunity exists to expand Commercial Midstream Incentive Programs (CMIPs) to reach this market segment instead.

Between 2013 and 2015, Argonne National Laboratory provided third-party technical guidance on the design and implementation of two midstream pilot programs with the following goals: (1) identifying the barriers and challenges that have prevented wider penetration of midstream programs, (2) identifying best practices to support the implementation of nationally replicable programs for a wide range of EE products, and (3) demonstrating the potential of these programs to cost-effectively spur energy efficiency improvements in the commercial business sector. The two pilots were conducted in the United States Northwest and Midwest regions. Different products were used to test several innovative program design features, including, for example, salesforce training and incentives, and marketing approaches.

This report describes the processes that are required to design, implement, and evaluate successful midstream incentive programs. It also presents lessons learned from the two pilot programs, and additional best practices that should be considered by utilities, distributors, and third-parties when developing midstream incentive programs.