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Research-Based Design of a Residential High User Program


High users account for a disproportionate share of the energy consumption in the residential sector and have been found to experience greater savings when engaged around efficiency. They are also easily identified by utilities for targeted program approaches and messaging. Yet, few efficiency programs target high users in a deliberate and effective manner.

The goal of “Research-Based Design of a Residential High User Program,” a CARD project, awarded to the Energy Center of Wisconsin, is to enable Minnesota utilities to better tap the unique energy-saving opportunities among high users with a research-driven set of program concepts and approaches. The Energy Center and its Minnesota utility partners will conduct a three-phase study beginning with a field study to characterize high-using households and identify their unique energy-saving opportunities and barriers. This characterization will provide the insights needed for the second phase of the study in which the grantee will develop targeted program approaches designed to meet high users’ unique circumstances. Finally, the Energy Center will test these program approaches with the high users in the field test.

The primary deliverables from this study, which are expected in June 2015, will be empirical results from the investigation into technical and behavioral characteristics of Minnesota’s residential high users and recommended program approaches for Minnesota utilities to apply in their service territories. Laura Silver is the Division of Energy Resources’ project manager for this CARD project