Creating a compelling home energy audit

Jacqueline Ducharme, Xcel Energy, with Darlene Luca, Apogee Interactive, and Paul Kriescher, Lightly Treading

Xcel is looking for a way to create a more engaging format with a higher conversion rate. Currently, their conversion rate is 17 percent.

Program partner Lightly Treading looked into software and found the EnergyInsights audit program by Apogee International. The software is pending Best Testing certified.

Pilot launched
Xcel negotiated a pilot of the software with Apogee. The pilot is taking place from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 of this year. About 400 audits will be performed with the software, while Xcel auditors continue to do traditional audits for comparison. Xcel has completed 15 audits so far.

Xcel learned that auditors need a little more time to scale the learning curve. Two of the auditors are Xcel staff auditors, and three are contractor auditors. Some customers don’t want retrofit contractors doing the audit, because they want impartiality; others want a one-stop shop. The program allows for both.

The software is easy-to-use for auditors collecting data in the field. This has a very practical aspect. The homeowners appreciate the report format—it is less technical and provides the information they need. The report is being updated to be more Colorado-specific: construction types tend to be regional, for example, and evaporative cooling is used in the West.

EnergyInsights can be loaded onto a laptop for use in the field. Customer data can be pulled into the program. It gives feedback on heating and cooling, lighting, other major appliances.

The report is the most engaging piece. Homeowners get it on-sight, and gives them the top “to-do” list. It tells them what they can save annually by making these changes. The homeowner can move forward on recommended steps. Xcel also gets a home performance report.  There is room for infrared photos, as well.