The market is changing, the number of efficient product options is growing, and technological advancements in the energy field are continuous. But the cost of innovative new technology is often high - and inefficient, cheaper products still occupy the shelves in most stores. So, how do we get consumers to invest in leading edge energy-efficient products that reduce strain on our electric system?
Efficiency Vermont, the VEIC-administered energy efficiency utility, has designed numerous incentive and rebate solutions to address the problem at its source. The utility has pioneered a model that promotes the use of efficient products by reducing their upfront cost. This model has proven very successful in the promotion efficient lighting products, and Efficiency Vermont is now applying it to another product found in every household – circulator pumps.
A pilot project was launched in September 2013, which sought to significantly reduce the retail price of high performance circulator pumps (HPCPs). Up to 30,000 circulator pumps are sold annually in Vermont, most of which are old technology. When considering the fact that high efficiency pumps offer up to 85% energy savings to users, this number represents a great potential for reduced electric use. Efficiency Vermont is eliminating the financial deterrent associated with these products by buying down the cost of HPCPs to match that of inefficient models.
Since the launch of the new HPCP initiative, approximately 1,800 units have been sold in Vermont. Prior to this pilot project, state-wide HPCP sales averaged less than 100 units per year. Efficiency Vermont is anticipating up to 5,000 HPCP installations in 2014, a number that represents a potential 2,000 MWh in annual electric savings.
The successful project launch and rapid boost in sales have caught the attention of many energy efficiency programs throughout North America. Connecticut started a similar pilot project on April 1st of this year, and Massachusetts is prepping to launch a mirrored initiative in a few short months. Efficiency programs in California, Rhode Island, and the city of Toronto, Canada have also expressed an interest in the project.
This creative approach to promoting energy efficiency is a demonstration of VEIC’s continual efforts to embrace emerging technologies, improve programs, and to lead by example