Efficiency Program Evaluation

Evaluation of the impact of a state-wide or regional energy efficiency program involves a multi-disciplinary team and a carefully documented process. Cx Associates provides services for business sector programs; we partner with residential specialists, statistical analysts and others as needed to bring all of the resources to meet the needs of our clients. We provide defensible program impact studies through measurement-driven evaluations that determine not only energy and demand impacts but also non-energy effects such as avoided/reduced operations and maintenance costs. Our reports include recommendations on how to increase program cost-effectiveness, delivering practical evaluation findings that can be used to improve future performance and quantify program benefits and costs beyond those measured at the meter.

Cx Associates' experience in the business market and in energy efficiency programs makes us a strong partner on impact, process and market evaluation teams. Our impact evaluation services include those described below.

Evaluation Planning

Cx Associates develops and executes technical evaluation studies which analyze the realized energy savings impact of energy efficiency programs. Our impact evaluations include:

  • Project and measure level sampling
  • Development of measurement and verification plans
  • On-site metering with state-of-the-art logging and diagnostic tools
  • Development of accurate savings estimates through building and measure modelling in eQuest, Trane Trace and Microsoft Excel normalized to meter data
  • Development of net-to-gross ratios based on surveys and analysis and reporting

The technical approach to evaluation is typically documented in the Evaluation Work Plan.

Measurement, Verification, and Analysis (MVA)

Our MVA plans specify the approach for collecting, assessing the validity of, and analyzing monitored data for each of the major measure types addressed under the programs or each custom project in the sample. They address sampling, accuracy, and methods for gathering data outside of the metering period. MVA plans guide the project or measure level verification effort.

Cx Associates uses state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and conducts the highly critical on-site data collection and engineering assessment efforts efficiently and with as little impact upon the participant's time and operation as possible. Our data collection efforts feature extensive use of instrumentation, including data loggers and advanced diagnostic tools. We work with electricians on site to ensure the safety of the site electrical system as metering equipment is installed and removed.

Verification of energy savings requires the use of metered or measured data to calculate energy use that has not occurred. In other words, in the Impact Evaluation we must quantify the avoided energy use that resulted from the efficiency measures and the program that supported them. Our savings verification process includes the use of proprietary data management tools, developed specifically for 8760 hour annual energy and demand analysis, modeling using eQuest and Trane Trace, and custom spreadsheet analysis. Using these tools and metered data, we develop an accurate picture of the building energy use after the efficient measures have been installed and compare it to the energy use that would have occurred absent the energy efficiency upgrades. Using these two models we can accurately determine the gross project energy and demand savings.

Analysis includes quantification of energy savings by developing models of the as-operating, energy efficient condition based on meter and utility data and of the baseline condition either as a derivative of the as-operating model (for new construction and market opportunities) or from pre-installation meter data for retrofit measures. The analysis results in measure-level gross energy and demand savings calculations with known levels of engineering accuracy.

Participant Surveys and Net-to-Gross Analysis

To augment the gross savings analysis, interviews of building owners and design firms are conducted to determine freeridership and spillover , and, in some cases, the impact the program has on the market. Cx Associates develops surveys (in-person, telephone, written, electronic) for data collection and the databases to store and manipulate data. Our process typically includes triangulation of survey reviews to develop consistent net-to-gross ratios.

Cx Associates in collaboration with team members at Megdal and Associates, West Hill Energy and Computing, and ERS, has pioneered the development of net savings analysis through creating a third building model which predicts what the owner would have built absent the program. This allows the engineering analysis to effectively quantify the effects of freeridership and spillover at the measure level.

Reporting

Cx Associates' site and measure-level evaluation reports reflect the needs of the specific evaluation, the complexity of the installed measures, and the findings in the field. Site reports are designed to protect the confidentiality of customers. Reports include tabular summaries of savings and adjustments; descriptions of the facility and measures and of the metering and analysis methodology; supporting material including analysis spreadsheets, graphs, and monitoring data; and our final conclusions. Because of our commitment to energy efficiency, our reports also include recommendations to program staff concerning additional opportunities to garner efficiency at the sites or with the measures. While evaluation protocols preclude Cx Associates from pursuing such savings due to potential conflicts of interest, we make sure that the program personnel have the information they need to further the benefits of their involvement with customers. In one case we identified an opportunity to nearly double the savings originally achieved on a project. Working with program staff, we provided estimates of the costs and benefits and the program personnel then contracted with engineers to work with the customer to increase their savings.

We invite you to contact us to begin a conversation about your specific needs.