Monday, November 13, 2023
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
More Data and More Questions: Refining Both to Boost Residential Energy Program Participation
Session ID
D2 - Enhancing the Visibility, Salience, and Prominence of Equity in Utility Programs
Equity & Empowerment
Emily Morris

Energy efficiency program managers need to understand their customer markets to effectively address barriers to participation in residential energy efficiency programs. One way to learn more about customers is to assess big data like U.S. Census data that informs residential characteristics by population, region, or point in time. However, it is hard to discern meaningful insights from single-source data. More robust datasets provide a deeper understanding of energy efficiency program gaps, impacts, and potential. Over the past four years, ILLUME has developed a layered Tableau dashboard and supplemental process to support utilities in making informed program design decisions. This session will present best practices in dashboard-driven decision-making. Each year, ILLUME begins the process by consulting with the utility to identify key research questions and available data and to strategize how to combine various data sets. Then the team explores preliminary visualizations through the dashboard and continues refining and developing research questions. Understanding how to use the dashboard effectively each year is critical and often calls for a mix of quantitative and qualitative customer insights. For example, in visualizing quantitative data about specific residential market characteristics, contextual questions arise about customer behavior and program participation propensity that require additional qualitative research to address. The insights from this mixed methods research approach then inform new questions to explore resulting in a productive information-gathering loop and effective recommendations that will help more customers participate and achieve savings. Participants will leave with reasons to create a dashboard, key benefits and considerations in its use, and opportunities for incorporating it into their own planning. The presenter will aid participant learning with a case study of how one utility worked with the community to address the challenges of knowing their market, including partnering with trusted community members and leveraging unique and innovative city partnerships.

Supporting Document 1