On Wednesday, January 5, 2011 Home Energy Consultants attended a marketing training seminar in Fayetteville sponsored by Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) and presented by CLEAResults Consulting, which is implementing the SWEPCO Residential Solutions incentive program. The training session was intended for any participating contractor of the SWEPCO program, including contractors for heating and air conditioning, insulation, duct sealing, air sealing and energy consultants.
Phil Watkins of SWEPCO started the meeting by giving us some background on the program. The SWEPCO energy efficiency efforts have been going on for less than two years. Some progress has been made with commercial and industrial customers, but the residential program is really just beginning. The big news is that the Arkansas Public Service Commission passed a ruling on Dec. 10, 2010 giving program targets, timelines and other details for all investor-owned utilities in the state. Significant electricity demand reduction must be made through 2013, with amounts ramping up each year. The PSC has apparently give the for-profit utlility adequate incentive to reduce its revenue. Watkins said SWEPCO would be pumping millions of dollars of incentives into this program, and that it was critical that there be widespread adoption of energy efficiency measures by area homeowners and by small “Mom and Pop” commercial operations, otherwise the demand reduction targets would not be met.
This program will be beneficial to all homeowners who decide to participate. It will also benefit the above-mentioned contractors, as this represents a large amount of work. The training session explored how to market energy efficiency to homeowners, how to integrate this type of work into contractors' existing business models, and how to begin putting together informal teams of contractors from different trades working toward a common goal of performing effective energy upgrades based on building science principles and diagnostic testing.
Michele Halsell of the University of Arkansas Center for Applied Sustainability was also there to present the latest on the Eco-Logical Communities, a joint pilot project with the U-A and the City of Fayetteville. Program participants allow Eco-Logical Communities to access their billing information, which is then displayed automatically online so homeowners can track their monthly usage for the previous year for gas, water and electric, set pledges for reductions, form groups to set competitive goals, and even earn reward points that can be redeemed at area businesses. EarthAid.net is incorporated into the Eco-Logical Communities dashboard. This unique pilot project is starting out in Fayetteville, and the goal is to replicate it throughout all of Arkansas. Over 650 Fayetteville residents and over 1000 Northwest Arkansas residents have joined so far. Sign up at www.ecologicalcommunities.org .
This Saturday, January 8, 2011 from 1-3 PM the Fayetteville Public Library will be hosting presentations by CLEAResults Consulting on SWEPCO’s Residential Solutions and Michele Halsell on the Eco-Logical Communities program. Join us!
This post originally appeared on Home Energy Consultants' House Whisperer Blog.