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Selling Conservation- How To Get Buy-In From Customers. National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference Denver June, ‘08 A. Tamasin Sterner Pure Energy Presentation Outline. Share a philosophy and methods used Discuss cases audited - May ’05 – Jan ‘07

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selling conservation how to get buy in from customers

Selling Conservation- How To Get Buy-In From Customers

National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference Denver June, ‘08

A. Tamasin Sterner

Pure Energy

presentation outline
Presentation Outline

Share a philosophy and methods used

Discuss cases audited - May ’05 – Jan ‘07

Discuss what was discovered during the home visits/energy audits

Share results - one and two years later

Share successes, lessons learned

about pure energy
About Pure Energy
  • Pure Energy's mission is to support everyone in discovering ways to reduce energy use.
  • Since 1986, we have been in over 30,000 homes – mostly low income.
  • Our approach involves tools and techniques that focus energy saving efforts where they can do the most good.
pure energy s approach
Pure Energy’s Approach
  • Win-Win-Win approach
  • Three assessment choices
      • Jiffy Audit: no site visit – use analysis only
      • Walk Through Audit: no major diagnostics
      • Comprehensive Audit: includes 1, 2 & full range of appropriate diagnostic tests
  • Facilitation & referral
  • Support & problem solving
  • Tracking results
utility low income weatherization and customer assistance programs
Utility Low Income Weatherization and Customer Assistance Programs
  • Weatherization Programs – some include Customer Assistance Program services and some don’t
  • Our experience ranges from auditor, installer, QA, program consultant, contractor trainer
high users pilot objectives
High Users Pilot Objectives
  • The goals were to:
  • Understand how a particular household uses electricity,
  • Identify the possibilities to reduce that use,
  • Explain the benefits of the CAP Program, &
  • Partner with the occupant for the best possible outcomes.
our methods
Our Methods
  • Use Analysis
  • The Coaching Model
use analysis
Use Analysis
  • The customer’s patterns of use drive measures and energy education
savings follows waste
Savings Follows Waste

Total electricity use relates directly

to potential electricity savings

Source: Carroll and Berger, APPRISE, PA Energy Forum, 2007

annual end use consumption ranges kwh
Annual End Use Consumption Ranges (kWh)

National averages trued up to PA utility program experience

coaching model with thanks to maria nemeth ph d
Coaching Modelwith thanks to Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.





If Authentic Action needs to be taken to get results, the Truth needs to be told

coaching takes time
Coaching Takes Time
  • LOOKat the thing. Focus.
  • SEEwhat it is doing, how it is acting – notice, examine, and discern.
  • TELL THE TRUTH– All Partners - about what is seen. Associate with costs, benefits, expectations, choices, options, consequences.
  • TAKE AUTHENTIC ACTION, together, to move in a positive direction.
coaching example
Coaching Example
  • LOOK : There is a heating unit in the garage.
  • SEE: It is set to come on at 74 degrees.
  • TELL THE TRUTH: Heating the garage uses a lot of electricity and costs $X per month. You are not paying for all the electricity you use. The utility wants you to use less electricity…
  • TAKE AUTHENTIC ACTION : Remove temperature sensitive items from the garage; separate laundry area from the rest of the garage…
another example
Another Example
  • LOOK : There is a dehumidifier.
  • SEE: It is running and it is winter. Rainwater drains into the basement due to foundation leaks and poor street drainage.
  • TELL THE TRUTH: It costs $X to run the dehumidifier each month. If the rainwater didn’t enter the basement, the dehumidifier wouldn’t have to run in the winter. You are not paying for all your electricity use. The utility wants you to use less electricity so they don’t have to cover you.
  • TAKE AUTHENTIC ACTION : Let’s call the City and report the problem together. Even, consider moving?
the participants
The Participants
  • All the customers in the pilot:
    • Used a lot of electricity
    • Were CAP program participants
    • Needed to participate in the Pilot in order to stay on CAP
tamasin s cases at a glance
Tamasin’s Cases at a Glance
  • 22 total cases
  • 20 went through the entire pilot
  • 11 are still connected two years later
  • 6 of the 11 are now off CAP
  • 9 cases are still saving two years later and the savings ranged from 8% to 47% annually
annual baseload
Annual Baseload

Tamasin’s Cases

pre audit usage ranges
Pre-Audit Usage Ranges

Electricity Usage Ranges among Cases (kWh)

pre and post audit use
Pre- and Post-Audit Use

Total Annual kWh

*Still on CAP



selected cases
Selected Cases
  • Since this presentation is about effective energy education and persistent savings, we are now going to look at the 11 cases who are still connected and have 2 years of post-audit data
case a
Case A


case a reasons for high use
Case A Reasons for High Use
  • Holes in the thermal barrier
  • Inadequate insulation
  • Constant dehumidifier and fan use due to flooding from poor street drainage
case a measures
Case A Measures
  • Insulation and air sealing
  • Education
  • Adjusted refrigerator temperature
  • CFL’s
  • Customer worked with the City to improve rain drainage problem
  • Roof leaked again since insulation
case b
Case B


case b reasons for high use
Case B Reasons for High Use
  • The old heat pump wasn’t working properly – the auxiliary heat was always on
  • Thermostat set with Fan On instead of Auto
case b measures
Case B Measures
  • Reset thermostat fan setting to Auto
  • Met with the complex Maintenance, showed him the problem, and asked him to arrange for service
  • Education
case c
Case C


case c reasons for high use
Case C Reasons for High Use
  • High baseload due to high number of occupants, multiple TV’s on most of the time, leaking water heater, bad refrigerator
  • High AC use due to AC thermostat not accurate, inadequate returns so bedrooms pressurized at night
  • One AC duct disconnected
case c measures
Case C Measures
  • Replaced refrigerator
  • Installed CFL’s
  • Replaced AC thermostat
  • Reconnected duct
  • Undercut bedroom doors
  • Installed window film on W and S windows
  • Appliance timer on TV’s left on all night
  • Education
case d
Case D


case d reasons for high use
Case D Reasons for High Use
  • Very high baseload use due to hot water clothes washing, multiple refrigerators/freezers
  • High summer use – 5 room AC’s, 3 of which were 5 or 6 EER
  • High winter use - Washer and dryer in the garage, so she kept the garage electric heater on
case d measures
Case D Measures
  • Switched washer hoses
  • Installed CFL’s
  • Eliminated beer tap
  • Father built wall to separate laundry area
  • Replaced 1 AC and removed another
  • Replaced thermostats
  • Added insulation and air sealed
  • Education
case e
Case E


case e reasons for high use
Case E Reasons for High Use
  • High temperatures desired – ill occupant
  • 24 hour a day lighting
  • Poor insulation
  • Greenhouse with dueling thermostats
case e measures
Case E Measures
  • Insulation
  • CFL’s
  • Education
case f
Case F


case f reasons for high use
Case F Reasons for High Use
  • Lots of occupants
  • Out buildings with tenants
  • 24 hour lighting
  • 6 inefficient room AC’s
  • High solar gain
  • Bad refrigerator
case f measures
Case F Measures
  • CFL’s
  • Removed 3 bad AC’s and replaced with 1
  • Window Film
  • New Refrigerator
  • Education
case g
Case G


case g reasons for high use
Case G Reasons for High Use
  • 12 occupants
  • 32 year old heat pump
  • Hot water laundry
case g measures
Case G Measures
  • CFL’s
  • New water heater
  • New heat pump
  • Insulation
  • Education
case h
Case H


case h reasons for high use
Case H Reasons for High Use
  • Bad refrigerator
  • Constant dehumidifier use/uncovered sump pump
  • Old fax machine using 500 watts every 10 seconds (for 3 seconds each time)
  • Old line voltage thermostats
case h measures
Case H Measures
  • New refrigerator
  • New fax machine
  • Sump pump cover
  • CFL’s
  • Education
case i
Case I


case i reasons for high use
Case I Reasons for High Use
  • Lots of air leakage
  • Electric oven used to heat two rooms
case i measures
Case I Measures
  • Air sealing
  • Insulated attic space
  • Education
case j
Case J


case j reasons for high use
Case J Reasons for High Use
  • Bad refrigerator
  • Electric baseboard thermostat that wouldn’t shut off
  • AC air handler set for “on” instead of “auto”
  • Lots of “guests”
case j measures
Case J Measures
  • New refrigerator
  • New thermostat
  • CFL’s
  • Education
case k
Case K


case k reasons for high use
Case K Reasons for High Use
  • Bad refrigerator
  • Bad water heater
  • Dueling heat pump thermostat operators – classic “she’s cold/he’s hot”
case k measures
Case K Measures
  • New water heater
  • New refrigerator
  • CFL’s
  • Education
top reasons for high baseload use
Top Reasons for High Baseload Use
  • High number of occupants
  • Hot water leaks in pipes, fixtures or water heater
  • Long shower time
  • Very inefficient refrigerators/freezers
  • Multiple refrigerators/freezers
  • 24 hour a day lighting
  • Other mechanical, appliance or electronics issues: computers on 24/7; air handlers ‘on’; ceiling fans on 24/7
top reasons for high winter use
Top Reasons for High Winter Use
  • Thermostat issues
    • Dueling heat pump thermostat operators
    • High thermostat settings
    • Faulty thermostats/dueling controls
  • Structural problems causing heat loss
what work was done mostly typical measures
What Work Was Done? Mostly Typical Measures…

Refrigerators and freezers were replaced, removed, and temperatures adjusted

Energy efficient lighting installed

Thermostats were replaced

West and south facing windows were tinted

Reconnect disconnected ducts and balance

Heat pump replaced

Insulation and air sealing

Water heaters replaced

so what was different how did these folks save so much more than typical
So… What Was Different?How did these folks save so much more than typical?
  • The customer’s use was analyzed before the audit:
    • We focused on the high use categories: where we could make the most difference?
  • We applied the Coaching Model:
    • Look
    • See
    • Tell the Truth ( “the party’s over” )
    • Take Authentic Action
effective visit tools
Effective Visit Tools

How Much Electricity Am I Using form

Form a partnership by telling the truth:

On Track program benefits are a blessing

You are in trouble: may not be your fault… but you are in trouble

Use analysis - Knowing low to high use ranges – how much electricity use is high

Determining if the issue is structural, and/or waste, and/or inefficient appliances

Have multiple metering tools

Prioritize the spending where it will help the most

Take the time needed to do it right: research options, multiple visits

Ask for a commitment

how much am i using2
How Much Am I Using?

Baseload = 34,000 - High

Summer = 2,000 - Mid

Winter = 11,000 - High

could the savings have been higher
Could the Savings have been Higher?

Time lags between audit and installation

Customers felt disrespected lost motivation when there is too long a lag

Partnership concept was weakened

Assuming use at $250 a month meant something was wrong

Treating the shell when the building isn’t the reason for the high use


What Doesn’t Work in Customer Interactions

  • Doing things TO people – “for their own good”…
  • Losing objectivity, patronizing, judgmental
  • Inappropriate tone, tempo, volume
  • Not balancing receiving with giving information
  • Rushing through anything
  • Focusing on your stuff rather than their stuff
  • Paper pushing without explanation
  • Focusing on SELLING rather than Customer’s Buying
what works for us
What Works for Us
  • Taking enough time to:
    • Really connect – to really understand what is going on and why – “look, see, tell the truth, take authentic action”
    • Explain program purpose and benefits
    • Know particulars about that household’s energy use, program benefits, potential savings
more of what works
More of What Works
  • Allow the family to choose
  • Use the Golden Rule – We Are One
  • Make deals – partner on next step actions
  • Be the person who made a difference in YOUR life
  • Create an opposite frequency when the air is tense or loud
  • Involve the kids in the installation or diagnostics
  • Learn the kid’s names and use the names
guiding principle
Guiding Principle
  • Always be in one of these states:
    • Acceptance: This is what is
    • Enjoyment
    • Enthusiasm
  • Who I am on my job matches who I am when I’m not at work…
active listening is a goal
Active Listening is a Goal

It begins with the intention to listen to the other person. Key skills are to:

  • Ask open-ended questions – ones that can’t be answered with a Yes or No
  • Paraphrase – state in your own words- what you believe someone just said – to be sure
  • Empathizing -- understand they are trying their best – just like you
communication successes
Communication Successes

Showing the customer how her use compared to average use – an “aha” moment

Customers appreciated hearing the truth about their bill, benefit, and payment situation

Showing what month the customer will have to start to pay their full bill if their use remains the same

Being open and honest – responding and not reacting to the customer’s confessions

what customers told us at the audit
What Customers Told Us at the Audit
  • “I don’t know how much energy I used or use”
  • “I didn’t know I wasn’t paying for all the energy I use”
what customers told us one and two years after audit
What Customers Told Us(One and Two Years after Audit)
  • Felt empowered to take actions
  • Noticed electricity use went down
  • Remembered Action Plan items
  • Children are healthier
  • Don’t need On Track (CAP) anymore
  • Motivated to act on their own on items missed or dropped
  • Frustrated about installer follow through in some cases

The new evidence …

High and persistent energy savings are possible when the customer’s use is analyzed and appropriate measures are taken …

And when the time is taken to effectively and honestly coach customers.

questions feedback
Questions & Feedback

A. Tamasin Sterner