Sponsored by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and
the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE)
with support from the US EPA/DOE ENERGY STAR® Programs.
Summary and Highlights of the 2001 National Symposium on Market Transformation:
Jennifer Thorne, Research Associate, ACEEE
On March 19-20, 2001, ACEEE together with CEE co-hosted the 2001 National Symposium on Market Transformation (the fifth in an annual series formerly known as the Market Transformation Workshop) in Washington, DC. This conference focused on advancing the market transformation approach to achieving energy efficiency. Through two broad plenary sessions, four smaller concurrent sessions and numerous in-depth working sessions, participants engaged in discussions of the issues affecting market transformation policy and program design as well as the latest information on program operations and the challenges and opportunities for initiative successes.
This year, more than 310 policy makers, planners, and practitioners from around the country and abroad attended the Symposium. The level of participation at this year’s event was about the same as last year, representing a leveling off after two years of significant growth. A number of regular participants were unable to attend due to the reliability problems in California, however the symposium continues to attract many first-time attendees reflecting the growing interest and increased application of the market transformation approach.
In the welcome address, Steve Nadel of ACEEE summarized market transformation progress and achievements over the past year. Several sessions built on this theme by exploring issues in program evaluation, including a concurrent session focusing on the logic of market transformation evaluation and the challenge of attributing the impacts of initiatives among the numerous programs and players involved. Working sessions addressed emerging issues in program evaluation as well as frameworks for assessing publicly-funded energy efficiency programs.
The Symposium devoted several sessions to the timely issue of system reliability and the role of market transformation in addressing peak demand reduction. The discussion was initiated in the first plenary with presentations by Rich Cowart of the Regulatory Assistance Project and Ken Keating of the Bonneville Power Administration. The session explored the role of energy efficiency in promoting system reliability and how market transformation relates to more traditional resource acquisition programs in securing peak demand reductions. This discussion was continued during a working session on specific market transformation approaches that can contribute to short-term peak reductions. Throughout the discussions, attendees were encouraged to look at market transformation and other approaches to energy efficiency as complementary rather than mutually exclusive. This issue proved to be one of the hottest topics of informal hallway discussions, in part as a response to several prominent press articles questioning the effectiveness of market transformation in achieving peak reductions.
Two popular concurrent sessions were repeated this year. The first, MT 101: An Introduction to Market Transformation, provided newcomers with an overview of the development and practice of market transformation. In Regional Roundup, presenters reported on market transformation in different states and regions and discussed the key distinguishing features of the programs and strategies offered in their areas. Participants were able to learn more about the types of market transformation activities underway across the country through the many working sessions dedicated to specific market transformation initiatives. These sessions revealed the growing interest in programs addressing energy-efficient practices such as lighting design, equipment installation, building design and construction, and operations and maintenance.
Another key theme highlighted throughout the symposium was the importance of trade allies in the development and implementation of successful market transformation initiatives. In the second plenary session, commercial sector trade allies related their experience with market transformation. Andrew Kitchens of Hines (a leading commercial real estate firm) and Mike Byars of Trane discussed the ways that whole-building energy performance targets have been used to identify energy savings opportunities and provide financial returns to building owners. Both presented examples of how the financial benefits of energy efficiency in terms of energy savings and increased operating income and asset value have been used to sell energy efficiency to decision makers in their own firms and to their customers. In a concurrent session on working with residential trade allies, representatives from a large retailer, an HVAC contractor, and an appliance manufacturer addressed the ways that market transformation programs have affected their business. Various trade allies were represented in the working sessions, discussing specific market transformation approaches targeting different technologies and practices.
Many of the 20 working sessions at the Symposium focused on the strategies for specific initiatives. As noted earlier, market transformation efforts are expanding to include systems-oriented initiatives that aim to maximize energy savings by specifying not only high efficiency equipment but also improved installation, operation and maintenance practices. Many of these issues were introduced at last year’s Symposium and several of this year’s working sessions focused on the progress of new initiatives that feature strategies for improving these practices (e.g., building O&M and retrocommissioning, residential HVAC installation, commercial lighting design, motor systems, and green buildings). Two working sessions built on the concept of commercial market segment-based approaches by discussing specific activities addressing offices and schools. Other new topics included web-based government procurement programs, renewable energy programs, and approaches for reaching underserved customers.
Participants who evaluated the conference rated the Symposium “Very Good” and offered numerous positive and constructive comments for organizers to contemplate for next year’s effort. A summary of these evaluations is attached. In particular, the plenary session on system reliability was rated very highly and the “Regional Roundup” concurrent session was the highest-ranked concurrent session for the second year.