Design of Energy Efficient and Demand Response Programs

Note: This is the second blog in a series where I outline some Energy Efficiency (EE) & Demand Response (DR) best practices and methods to help you find the data, analytical techniques and case studies to jump-start your energy efficiency and demand response initiatives, including providing citations to best practices studies developed by the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency. Last week, I addressed the benefits of and the increasing funding for EE & DR programs. This blog addresses Planning and Program Design of Energy Efficiency and Demand Response Programs.

You have likely heard that “it doesn’t matter what road you take if you don’t know where you want to go.” These are the steps for setting a destination.


The first step for EE & DR planning is to develop a sound business case for implementing such programs. The business case should define the reasons that your organization is pursuing EE & DR. Developing this business case includes reviewing a comprehensive list of EE & DR benefits and costs and making a decision if your utility or organization finds that such programs are cost effective, can help comply with laws and regulations, or meet customer needs and preferences.


The second step is to conduct an energy efficiency/demand response potential study to identify the EE & DR options that can save the most energy and are the most cost effective. The results of such a study can help your organization set priorities for program design and implementation, since most organizations do not have unlimited budgets for EE & RD.
An excellent guide for conducting such EE/DR potential studies is the November 2007 National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency “Guide for Conducting Energy Efficiency Potential Studies”. The results of the potential study provide the roadmap that an organization needs to design and implement cost effective programs that will achieve meaningful energy savings.
A recent example of a completed energy efficiency and demand response potential study is the November 2013 potential study for the State of Michigan. This study is available here.

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GDS Associates, Inc. – Marietta, GA