April 17th 2012
Home energy reports are one of the touch points in the Tendril Energize application suite. In addition to home energy reports, the suite also includes a web portal and mobile applications, as well as smart devices, which offer even more control over energy and benefits to consumers and utilities alike. These multiple touch points reflect our belief that consumer engagement is a journey, not a destination, and home energy reports are an important stepping-stone in that journey.
In addition to helping many utilities meet energy efficiency mandates, Tendril Energize Home Energy Reports are an ideal entrée for a bigger conversation with consumers around energy. It gives utilities a broad-based, customizable and universally accessible solution for all their mass-market consumers (all the consumer needs to participate is a mailbox) but they also allow for progressively more active levels of consumer engagement—providing a path to participation in higher value energy programs including demand response and load control. In essence, our home energy reports and our entire Tendril Energize application suite are designed to provide utilities with a “think big, but start smart” approach to consumer engagement.
This often starts with the Tendril Energize Home Energy Reports. The reports provide consumers with an “at a glance” performance assessment of their home energy usage. The reports also provide targeted energy saving recommendations based on household energy consumption, home profile and location—all made possible by the powerful building science analytics in our Tendril Connect platform.
A consumer can see how their energy usage stacks up against the previous year, similar households and even the most efficient households in their peer group. We’ve blogged here before about how important comparisons and social norms can be to drive persistent behavioral change.
Utilities Can Customize Tendril Energize Home Energy Reports to Reflect Their Branding and Program Messaging
For utilities, the Tendril Energize Home Energy Reports can be customized to reflect the utility and energy program branding to ensure a consistent brand. The reports also provide a space where utilities can deliver tailored messaging around other news, programs and offers or even drive them to the web or mobile applications—taking the consumer to the next step of the journey, where they can become progressively more actively engaged. Using our Tendril Energize web app, consumers can take weekly energy challenges and earn points for completing them, interact with online experts and other consumers and control in-home devices, like smart thermostats.
Tendril Energize Home Energy reports are designed to spark on ongoing and evolving dialogue with today’s energy consumer, taking them from the passive recipients of information to increasingly more engaged participants in the management and control over their energy use.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Tendril Energize Home Energy reports, please join us for the Smart Grid News webinar on The Science of Customer Engagement — Applying behavioral science to home energy reports and energy efficiency on Tuesday, April 24.
Ivo Steklac, COO
March 22nd 2012
There was exciting news today in Washington, DC: 9 utilities, representing 15 million consumers committed to implement the Green Button . They join 6 others that announced the availability of the Green Button earlier this year and a growing list of vendors, that have committed to or already implemented (which Tendril has) Green Button technology. Together, this brings to 27 million the number of consumers that will have secure access to their own energy usage information in an easily accessible, digital-friendly format. The announcement came in conjunction with the Institute for Electric Efficiency’s (IEE) “Powering the People 2.0” event. Earlier in the day, a broad industry coalition (again Tendril included) highlighted the value of the Green Button as a key policy priority as well in a letter to President Obama.
Tendril has stood behind the Green Button from the beginning, consistent with our longstanding support of open consumer access to their energy information. Earlier this year, we included features to allow both utility partners and software developers using our platform the tools to easily generate and work with Green Button-formatted files.
We also launched GreenButtonConnect.com to offer consumers a positive first experience with the Green Button file they download through an app gallery, which will be re-launched today with a fresh look and more intuitive design. The website was featured as part of “Innovation Alley” showing utilities, consumers and policy-makers the power of our Connect Platform™ and developer tools.
With these new announcements, I was struck by how quickly a good idea, delivered at the right time can take flight.
The confluence of energy information, smart devices and motivated consumers suggests that the Green Button has arrived at an auspicious time. Even the most casual observer of the electric industry today concludes that the energy consumer of the next decade will bear little resemblance to the consumer of the last several decades. In the past, consumer demands were shaped by the available technology. Going forward, the available technology will drive consumer demands.
What do I mean by that? Quite simply, consumers are going to increasingly expect to have greater visibility into the energy system that serves them because of the new capabilities of the devices in their lives, not because they inherently have an interest in that information per se. (Just think of all the people today, their smart phones brimming with downloaded apps, managing valuable aspects of their lives conveniently and securely. Now imagine those same people managing the internet of things within their connected home.)
This is when the Smart Grid gets truly “smart”. When you can ask your home to please take advantage of all the available wind power during the day as easily as you can ask Siri to find you a good place for lunch, you know that the Smart Grid is working. Engaged consumers using smart technologies will drive innovation that can save consumers billions of dollars and further accelerate the app industry, one of the brightest spots of the growth within the economy.
The Evolution of the Energy Consumer
Information sits at the heart of any well-functioning competitive market or regulated regime. At least as early as the Energy Information and Security Act’s, signed by President Bush in 2007, which called for the “provision to consumers of timely information and control options,” putting consumers firmly in control of how their information is used has been a policy priority at the state and federal level and on both sides of the aisle. The Green Button is consistent with those policy goals and the the Consumer’s Bill of Rights around privacy put forward recently by the White House.
On a GridWise Alliance webinar earlier this week, I speculated about the kinds of apps that could be put together with currently available data sets and technology. As my colleague Yelena mused last week, we at Tendril believe that most consumers need to know where to begin. We know that information without context is insufficient. It has to be actionable.
But it also has to be available.
There is popular line of reasoning today suggesting that our best approach to energy efficiency is to seek incremental improvements of a few percentage points at a time in “demand-side” programs that have limited exposure. No doubt, even modest efficiency gains will yield massive kWh reductions. But is that where our ambition should stop? If we are correct that, driven by technology, the new energy consumer demand services that improve their quality of life, then shouldn’t we set our sights more boldly?
For me, the more compelling narrative suggests that the great innovations that stand in waiting will bring opportunities for the as “customer co-creation of value.” Perhaps the most common example for travelers is online check-in where we log on from home, map our own seats and print our boarding passes. More convenient of consumer; more efficient for airlines. Both win.
I think we can expect to see this kind of value creation in demand management and energy efficiency. We launched GreenButtonConnect.com (and our developer program in general) with the belief that we can unleash innovations greater than what we can imagine today.
Green Button information is not only a way to achieve energy efficiency and contribute to load management (DSM measures, if you will), it is fuel into the engine of innovation the Smart Grid was meant to enable.
We’ve been actively sponsoring developers contests and hackathons, including San Francisco, New York, London and ones coming up in Boston, Amsterdam and here in Boulder. Teams have quickly built great apps that recommend rate plans, identify consumption drivers and help consumers find efficiency fixtures and appliances.
But, I’m really looking forward to the ones still coming. Show me what my hour-by-hour carbon footprint looks like so that I can match my usage to the availability of clean energy sources. Let my electric vehicle look at my calendar and energy prices to charge my car to match my schedule. Or create an auditing tool that combines product information, location and building science to give someone in the field the best possible upgrades for a home.
I’d be interested to hear what readers of this blog, and especially, non-energy industry insiders, would like to see from an energy app. If you’ve got an idea, tweet it to us at @tendril and throw in the #greenbutton hash tag.
The Green Button gives us the first step on that path to building these apps. So that is why we’re excited about this and why we’re making sure that our platform is aligned with what forward-looking utilities are doing to enable this future of value “co-creation.”
Cameron Brooks, VP Policy
March 20th 2012
Earlier this month, a few of us at Tendril headed to SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX to give a presentation about energy use, and to take in the firehose of what others came to share.
My first order of business was to give a dual presentation with J. Toscano, a Partner at GMMB. We were pleased that many braved the uncharacteristic downpour to join us there to discuss Your Energy Use: Too Busy/Lazy/Apathetic to Care?
It’s true that people don’t automatically care about their energy use (the statistic is that consumers in the U.S. spend ~6 minutes per year thinking about it). But to cut to the chase, our experience shows that being too busy, lazy or apathetic aren’t the main barriers. As product designers in the energy industry, our challenge begins far sooner than when people are ready to use the product – i.e., we need to first acknowledge and design for the fact that people don’t know much about where their energy comes from or where it goes; that the motivations to change behavior patterns are not self-evident; and, that even when they’re thinking about the topic and ready to consider a change, many people don’t know where to begin and hold onto misleading assumptions.
At Tendril, we spend a lot of time crafting technology that addresses these barriers. We’ve got a team of people, myself included, tasked with figuring out how to develop content and user interfaces that engage people in understanding and changing how energy is used in their homes. We’ve found that, when properly armed with actionable information and an intrinsic motivation to take action, people can save energy. We’ve created feedback loops (something we’ve blogged about before), and applied other key findings from behavioral sciences to our products – with significant success, I’m proud to say.
For the remainder of the talk, we shared those findings from behavioral sciences that we found to be most effective, gave examples of how we applied them to our own research and products, and discussed how others in similarly challenging fields might make use of them too.
Inspired by the discussions that ensued, it was time to see what others had to say. For our team, highlights included Sunil Paul’s presentation on how the CleanWeb approach will outpace CleanTech (slides here); a session on Project Noah, which uses mobile and web apps to encourage curious people around the world to document wildlife; hearing Rainn Wilson’s (most of us know Rain as Dwight Schrute from The Office) perspective on using technology to get people talking and thinking about life’s big issues; and the Lean Startup track hosted by Eric Ries and Dave McClure. I found it notable that the panel on UX-driven startups drew a full-capacity crowd and a line out the door.
It was fun to go off-script, and pause for conversations with interesting folks in hallways, shuttles and BBQ joints. We also had a great time at the off-site events – especially the stand-up comedy at Esther’s Follies, sampling the food trucks, and heading to pop-up venues like the Foursquare Court (literally), and the GE Garage, where we checked out the Makerbot 3D printer, welders, and other toys.
Since there were literally 50-100 sessions and events going on at any given time within the Interactive timeframe alone, there was a lot more on our radar that we didn’t manage to see. We’re looking forward to the SXSW-provided recordings!
As I headed back to San Francisco from Austin, I was struck by level of interest I’d seen in engaging with larger social and environmental issues, and how we could all do better.
If you’re one of those people, we encourage you to sign-up for the next Cleanweb Hackathon, taking place in Boulder, May 18-20, 2012. If you’re located in Europe, check out the The Next Web Kings of Code Hack Battle taking place in Amsterdam – that’s April 25-26. We’re making our platform APIs available for both hackathons. Who knows? Maybe your app will be the darling of the next SXSW.
Yelena Nakhimovsky, UX Manager
January 24th 2012
The Internet is no longer just traditional web applications and storefronts. Increasingly, smart things, like appliances, electric vehicle chargers, solar panels, and other in-home devices are becoming networked and connected to the Internet. This ‘Internet of Things’ is a significant departure from the current generation of Web apps and is fundamental to enabling the cleanweb.
This departure has in part been wrought by the emergence of hackathons. Hackathons are the democratization of Internet technology—a chance for anyone with a great idea and the skill to execute it, to make fundamental changes in the way the people interact with energy. In fact, as a company, we have long maintained that it’s important to remain humble about predicting the killer app, and rather than trying to predict the killer app we need to create the conditions for the creation of the killer app. As part of that belief, we opened our APIs in an effort to leverage the collective creativity of the open developer community and maximize the potential for the creation of killer energy apps. This potential was never more obvious than at the NYC Cleanweb Hackathon this past weekend!
Friday night was the perfect kickoff for the NYC Cleanweb Hackathon. The view was stunning from the 40th floor of the New York Academy of Sciences. The music made everyone want to dance and the high energy at the beginning of the hackathon was palpable. It was very exciting to talk with people who either had ideas that could change our way of managing resources on this planet or who are already doing innovative work to nudge us toward sustainability.
Introductions were made, judges and organizing sponsors were acknowledged, APIs and datasets were presented, and then came the best part – the sharing of ideas for apps to be built over the course of the weekend. Idea after idea for energy awareness, energy efficiency, energy education, solar, transportation and social equity were presented. Groups began forming and discussing their project’s architecture and workflow. The race was on.
Saturday was freezing cold with high wind and wet snow blanketing the streets as we made our way to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Interactive Telecommunications Program. Attendees checked in, grabbed coffee and bagels, and staked out the tables where they would work for the weekend. Computers quickly covered the tables and tangles of power cords appeared. Coffee cups began to pile up as teams figured how to make maximum use of the next 30 hours.
The Tendril team got to work answering questions about our APIs, sample user profiles, and home area network devices. We watched as app keys were assigned and API calls began flooding through our developer site at dev.tendrilinc.com. First user information trended up, then devices, and then Green Button API calls took and held the lead. Teams continued working into the night as they hit their stride and apps began to take shape.
The following morning was mostly cloudy and very cold but it was no longer snowing. Project teams returned to work and were highly focused as the hours flew by.
In all, a total of 15 apps were created this weekend, countless cups of coffee were consumed, and many hours of sleep were missed. But it was all for an excellent cause – combining Internet technologies with innovative solutions for sustainability.
The brilliance of a cleanweb hackathon is evident in the list of apps created this past weekend:
1. eMotivator – a portal where individuals are rewarded for reducing their electricity consumption
2. Green Carrot – Inform consumers of their energy usage; compare usage and share insights with friends on Facebook
3. Movable Feast – sends real-time energy alerts to your inbox when energy usage is unusually high
4. CleanGPA – Computes normalized residential energy consumption; users compete with friends, family, and community and win titles and badges
5. Econofy E-Star – Energy efficiency comparison shopping for appliances and more
6. NYC Municipal Buildings Faceoff – Ranks NYC municipal buildings by energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions
7. Audit Trigger – Calculates which properties will benefit from an energy audit
8. Watt Quiz – Answer questions correctly and generate watts that are donated to charities
9. Automagic Wireless Thermostat – Puts thermostat in away mode based on location of residents’ smart phones
10. Watt – Summarized energy consumption into a Watt score. Get a better score by influencing others to decrease their energy usage.
11. 1>99 – Visualizes the gap in social equity
12. Mosaic map – Connects users with the solar projects that they’ve funded and presents real-time activity in the solar sphere
13. Solar List – Educates consumers about solar and helps them find installers
14. Trip Watchers – Tracks vehicle miles traveled and provides suggestions for reducing impact
15. Auto Power Saver – a screen saver for your home power usage based on the geolocation of your phone compared to your house. Turns appliances off when you are not home and turns them on when you are returning home.
Out of the 15 teams at the hackathon, five used Tendril APIs to create apps, including eMotivator, Green Carrot, Movable Feast, Auto Power Saver, and CleanGPA.
From these five we had the hard job of picking the winners of the first-ever Tendril Energy Internet and Smart Energy Home App Contest. After much debate and consideration, we’re proud to report that eMotivator won first place in the Tendril Energy Internet and Smart Energy Home app contest and walked away with $3,000. Green Carrot took the $2,000 second place prize (they also won $1,000 “best user experience” prize from the organizers of the hackathon). We’ll be giving the attendees of DistribuTECH a closer look at both these apps—as prime examples of the types of innovation that is coming out of the app dev community. If you’re at DistribuTECH, stop by booth #771 to see these winning apps as well as others already integrated on the Tendril platform
The Hackathon also recognized its own set of winning apps. Overall winner went to Econofy, who also won the Audience Choice award. Their prizes include round-trip travel to San Francisco and one week in the Greenstart clean-tech accelerator program and $1,500 for the Audience Choice award.
Congrats to the winners and all the teams that participated. The innovation displayed at the hackathon has left us awed.
Many thanks to the key organizers of the contest: Blake Burris, co-founding organizer, Cleanweb Hackathon, and CEO of Dynamo Labs; Sunil Paul, co-founding organizer, Cleanweb Hackathon, and founding director of Spring Ventures; and, Nicholas Eisenberger, co-founding organizer, Cleanweb Hackathon, and founder and managing partner of Pure Energy Partners. Additional thanks to Matt Solt from Civvic, Micah Kotch from NYU Poly, Sameer Rashid from Pure Energy Partners, Nick Allen from Spring Ventures, David Gilford from NYC Economic Development Corporation, David Yeh from Generation Investment Management, Harry Charalambides from the NY Academy of Sciences, Jean Barmash from EnergyScoreCards, and Jay-E Emmingham from the Pratt Center.
Additional thanks to the judges who had the tough job of choosing the hackathon winners, including Fred Wilson, principal, Union Square Ventures; Rachel Sterne, NYC chief digital officer; Frank Rimalovski, managing director, NYU Innovation Venture fund; Evan Korth, co-founder, Hack NY; Mike Shimazu, innovation and business development at NYSERDA; and, Maria Gotsch, president and CEO, New York City Investment Fund.
It was amazing to see the power of the cleanweb in addressing significant environmental and behavioral challenges. We had a fantastic time at the NYC Cleanweb Hackathon and we’re excited to start working on the next Cleanweb Hackathon.
Eric Shiflet and Chrysa Caulfield, Tendril Application Developer Program
January 16th 2012
I was at CES last week, where I took part in a panel with executives from LG, Whirlpool (full disclosure, Whirlpool is a Tendril partner), and the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. We were asked to discuss Smart Appliances: Ready for Prime Time?
This is a perennial question raised at CES—an event known as ground zero for futuristic consumer technology.
So, are smart appliances ready for prime time? I’d say yes, they are and they’ve likely been ready for quite sometime (check out some of the stuff Whirlpool and other appliance manufactures showed at CES and you be the judge).
But the future of smart appliances is not solely about the appliances. It’s about connecting the appliances to consumers and equally important, connecting them to the rapidly expanding ecosystem of “smart things” in the home (or for that matter to things outside the home, like an electric vehicle).
The value of each of these smart things increases when they are connected and communicating. By connecting and unlocking the value of these smart things, consumers can begin to control them (and one day, orchestrate and automate them). This yields significant benefits to consumers in the form of improved comfort and convenience.
Because most of these things consume energy, their collective connectivity and potential to be grid-responsive produces benefits to utilities, seeking to better manage load on the grid, improves operational efficiencies and meets the rapidly changing needs of their customers.
For the makers of smart appliances and other smart devices, the deployment of their smart goods enables them to develop a closer relationship with consumers and offer new services. For example, they can provide preventative maintenance and diagnostics—sending consumers alerts when their fridge needs a new water filter or when their dishwasher might need servicing.
We’ve had some experience in connecting things over the past 7 years through our extensive work with forward-thinking utilities and other energy service providers in the smart grid space. And we’ve learned a few important things about what it takes to connect smart things in the home—how to unlock their value for consumers, utilities and the makers of smart energy devices and services. Among these lessons:
- The home is heterogeneous. The average household has a multitude of things capable of communicating, like a meter (some have smart meters, some don’t), computers, phones, smart thermostats, set-top boxes, electric vehicles…well the list is quite extensive and it keeps getting longer (see lesson #2 below). They communicate using different protocols and standards and of course, each home is different than the next. Unless these things are connected and networked, their real value for consumers, utilities and product providers, like smart appliance manufacturers, will never be realized.
- And it’s only going to get more heterogeneous with the emergence of the Internet of Things: Cisco estimates by 2020 there’ll be more than 50 billion devices connected to the Internet. Others have covered what the Internet of Things means on this blog before, in terms of driving value across a chain that includes utilities, consumers, app developers and the makers of smart “things.”
- “Connecting and unlocking value” from heterogeneous ‘things’ requires an open scalable platform that can accommodate multiple standards and communications protocols. Getting these things to interoperate requires a common connector—a platform that is basically agnostic.
- Integrate once, connect everywhere: We believe that the manufacturers of “smart things” need a single platform that enables them to integrate once and connect everywhere—to consumers, energy providers and even each other. You can imagine how important this is for utilities, each with its own back-office systems, meter infrastructures and other systems. Interoperability becomes essential to making this possible.
This is why Tendril developed Tendril Connect, a secure and scalable cloud platform based on open standards (i.e., it’s agnostic). It unlocks the full potential of the smart grid and the smart energy home by connecting utilities, consumers and product and service providers. It offers the makers of smart appliances and other smart devices the ability to leap frog more than 7 years of deep integration work we’ve done with utilities and others in the smart grid arena. And after years of deep integration work connecting our platform with most of the major meters, a wide array of in-home devices, and applications (like an online social game application from Simple Energy), we know we connect them.
For those of you waiting for the day that your car tells your house to start you laundry and turn up the AC while you make your way home on a hot day, and in turn your AC uses power from solar panels to make all this possible, you may not be waiting much longer. These things are all possible today. Judging by what I saw at CES, the “smart things” like appliances are definitely ready.
The future of smart appliances and the growing ecosystem of connected smart things is here. We can’t wait to connect it.
Kent Dickson, Chief Technology Officer
November 28th 2011
I recently participated on a panel, “Initiating Customer Action,” at the Peak Load Management Alliance’s fall conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee, hosted by Tennessee Valley Authority. We examined a topic that Tendril has devoted a lot of time to researching—and something we often stress to our utility customers—energy consumers are not one and the same, which is why segmentation research is key to engaging consumers.
Up until recently, many consumers were only in touch with their energy providers when they paid their bill or when the lights went out. However, with the increasing use of energy monitoring web applications and smart devices, the proliferation of PV installations, and the pending growth of electric vehicle (EV) use, utilities need to prepare for a more informed, connected and independent consumer in order to stay relevant. Furthermore, as utilities roll out demand response (DR), energy efficiency (EE) and other programs, participation can be increased dramatically by taking time to understand what types of preferences their customers have, and tailoring offerings to meet those needs.
Patty Durand, executive director of Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC), also participated on the panel, referencing SGCC’s newly published survey revealing five distinct types of U.S. residential electric consumers out of the 1,200 people who participated:
“Concerned greens” (31%) are extremely protective of the environment and in full support of smart grid initiatives. They are eager and willing to participate in energy management programs. “Young America” (23%) does not know much about smart grid initiatives but are open to learning about the potential environmental benefits and cost savings. “Easy street” (20%) consumers have the highest income and are reluctant to change their personal habits around energy because savings are not as important to them. “DIY & save” (16%) types are focused on providing for their families, not global environmental issues. They find their own ways to conserve energy like installing new windows in their homes, or manually unplugging televisions to avoid draining power in standby mode. And “Traditionals” (11%) are content with the way things are and see no need for energy reform.
The common argument against segmentation is that it will scare people off—too many options and they’ll be overwhelmed. Tendril could not disagree more with this assessment. Our research reinforces much of what was found in the survey, and ultimately shows that consumers want choice. In other parts of our lives, we are given choices every day. Whether it’s searching for a new car, deciding what type of coffee to drink or selecting a new cell phone plan, despite the “overwhelming” number of options, people have always been capable of choosing the best offering for themselves—why can’t the same be said for home energy?
And segmentation saves money, as Jessica Strömbäck, executive director of Smart Energy Demand Coalition, who rounded out the panel, pointed out. Her 2010 comparison of 80 demand response pilots showed that in the California Statewide Pricing Pilot less than 30% of the population accounted for approximately 80% of the energy savings, implying that potentially 60% of the budget could have been saved through skillful segmentation.
In order to get the most out of their consumer-facing smart-grid services, utilities need to move from a one-size-fits-all model to targeted programs and multiple offerings. We agree and in fact Katherine Tweed from Greentech Media covered this in an article a few months back, after she spoke with Adrian Tuck, CEO, Tendril about how Tendril has helped utilities learn more about their customers:
“One of Tendril’s utility clients wanted to get customers signed up for demand response programs by giving away smart thermostats that people could use to participate. Tendril marketed the exact same product to specific groups using three distinct messages: environmental stewardship, cool new technology, and saving money. The program was oversubscribed before lunchtime on the first day it was available.”
Utilities in deregulated markets like Texas and Australia are already providing options to their customers, to great success. Regulated utilities that act first, and make an effort to understand customer segments and establish a dialogue early on, will stand to gain the most when pending changes in the market take choice away from the utilities—and make segmented options for consumers a priority.
Mark Gately, Segment Marketing Analyst
October 25th 2011
Last May I attended the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Energy Efficiency Finance Forum where Capital-E (in the interest of full disclosure, our Board Member, Greg Kats, is the President at Capital E) held a workshop of 25 banks, investors, regulators, project developers and industry organizations to co-design new financing mechanisms for large-scale energy efficiency projects.
As a result, a coalition of five of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., as well as major real estate and industry players (including Tendril, who provided input and review on the report), today released a report entitled “Energy Efficiency Financing: Models and Strategies.” The report details how the private sector can rapidly and cost-effectively expand private investment in energy efficiency. The findings are eye opening and underscore the need to scale private sector funding for energy efficiency.
According to the report, the opportunity exists today to finance $150 million per year in energy efficiency projects that could yield double-digit financial returns. This level of investment over 10 years could result in a $200 billion annual savings for U.S. businesses and households, and create more than 1 million full-time jobs.
Yup, you read that right: 1 million full-time jobs—pretty impressive given the economic climate and acute need for jobs.
This level of funding in energy efficiency projects would be a more than five-fold increase from current levels of about $20 billion per year, making the American economy more competitive, enhancing national security, and helping slow the impacts of climate change.
From our own corner of the energy industry, we know for a fact that investment in energy efficiency and energy management has yielded jobs. During 2011, Tendril has added many jobs – on average, 10 new full-time employees each month. We are just one example of the economic expansion and job growth potential of the clean tech economy.
But be under no illusion, further growth in clean tech will require continuing and significant private sector investment. It becomes even more imperative in light of the winding down of some $40 billion in public stimulus funding for energy efficiency and clean energy programs, which begins to fade at the end of this year and ends completely in 2013.
Relative to almost every other investment, private sector energy efficiency financing has the potential to cost effectively create more distributed jobs, reduce energy costs for businesses and households at all income levels, cut air pollution and enhance domestic security.
So how do we encourage private investment for large-scale energy efficiency projects and fill the gap from federal funding decreases? The report evaluates and maps out multiple pathways to scale private sector investment into energy efficiency, with models ranging from Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC), Energy Services Agreements, State/Municipal Loan Programs, Sustainable Energy Utilities, Carbon Market Funding, Mortgage-Backed EE Financing, Preferential Terms for Green/EE Buildings, Utility On-bill Financing, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) – Commercial, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) – Residential and Unsecured Consumer Loans, and provides an assessment that includes the growth potential of each model.
The good news is that there are multiple pathways to grow this much needed private investment in energy efficiency, and the upside could be huge in terms of economic growth, job creation and sustainability improvements to the world around us.
Ivo Steklac, COO