Four Ways to Recognize Energy Efficiency Trade Allies
Nearly all utilities rely on third-party contractors to support energy efficiency programs in reaching savings goals and portfolio-wide objectives. These contractors, or Trade Allies, act as an extension of the program implementation staff – helping residential, commercial and industrial customers to complete energy efficiency projects and leverage available utility incentives.
Many of these Trade Allies are businesses established in the local communities that can help utilities reach more customers and spread the word about the benefits of energy efficiency upgrades. In fact, a recent case study showed that by partnering with Trade Allies, one utility saw 55 percent more penetration for its energy efficiency program than another utility conducting a similar program without an active Trade Ally network.
To foster and enhance this Trade Ally relationship, many utilities are finding ways to motivate successful Allies through recognition programs. These recognition programs help drive project activity in order to increase energy savings. A few of the most common recognition initiatives include:
- Trade Allies of the Year: Utilities recognize the contractors that reach certain milestones, such as the most kilowatt-hours (kWh) saved, therms saved, or number of projects completed, on an annual basis.
- Most Improved Allies: These awards go to contractors who have worked with the utility for multiple years and have seen the most year-over-year improvement for total energy savings, kWh saved, therms saved, or number of projects completed.
- Newcomer of the Year: New contractors often take time to ramp up, but a newcomer award helps recognize the success of the newest Allies that have seen notable progress in the first 12 months of a program.
- Program Milestones: Awards don’t have to be limited to once a year. To provide continuous recognition, some utilities award their Trade Allies whenever they reach a certain level of energy savings or complete a certain number of projects.
A successful Trade Ally recognition program will grow with the addition of new participating companies. A utility may start with annual awards or consider implementing milestone recognitions depending on their current level of contractor participation. As more contractors are involved with the program, implementing more awards or recognition initiatives will likely make sense. In addition, this recognition can feed into broader Trade Ally engagement tactics – like bonus incentives, co-branding initiatives, ongoing performance progress reports, and targeted recruitment campaigns.
Plus these recognition initiatives don’t need to be a major program expense. The awards can be as simple as a plaque, photo opportunity, and mention on the program website or in the utility e-newsletter. Some utilities also treat the Trade Ally’s sales team to lunch or provide branded gifts to commemorate energy efficiency accomplishments. Regardless of what initiatives a utility selects, a Trade Ally recognition program is an effective way to show appreciation towards these important program partners and facilitate greater future participation.
Leidos designs, implements, and manages performance-based energy efficiency and demand-side management programs across the U.S., from Hawaii to New York.