Green Energy Match: Linking Behavioral Energy Savings Programs to Job Creation

October 25, 2011 - 12:00pm
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The "holy grail" of energy efficiency is proving the linkage between job creation to energy-saving actions.  While residential home improvements have been the focus of numerous programs – particularly those funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) – this talk introduces an innovative program mounted by the city of San José and WattzOn, a Santa Clara County-based company, to catalyze behavior-based energy savings, and to direct the ensuing increase in household income to local merchants.  The program, Green Energy Match (GEM), engages residents in energy savings, tracks their savings via utility bills, and rewards high savers with deep-discount coupons from participating neighborhood businesses.  The year-long initial pilot (August 2011-July 2012) is mounted in three San José neighborhoods, each with distinctly different ethnic groups, income levels, and housing stock.  GEM is open to renters and homeowners.  Multiple reward structures are used simultaneously, and additional retail spending, catalyzed by coupon use, is tracked.  Participating homes are compared to non-participating homes in the same neighborhood and to homes in comparable neighborhoods.  This talk will lay out how data will be collected for an   extensive analysis of three elements of the program: residential outreach and how participants joined the program; how residents saved energy and water; the merchant engagement process; and participants’ changes in local spending.

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