News: Industry Embraces Staged Retrofit as Energy Efficiency Best Practice

Home Performance XML (HPXML) New Technical Standard for Home Performance Industry

Utility spending on energy efficiency programs will continue to grow rapidly, up to a projected $10 billion in 2015, despite the wind-down in public funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As the market matures, utility and state programs require new strategies in addition to whole-building upgrades and retrofits. Programs are turning toward incremental approaches to achieving deep energy and cost savings. New technical standards like BPI-2100, or Home Performance XML (HPXML), are enabling these initiatives to reach scale.

“Every step of the way LEAP has invested in the tools and processes necessary to achieve greater sale,” said Cynthia Adams, LEAP’s Executive Director. “Staged retrofit will be an important strategy to continue to generate energy savings. And HPXML will allow us to interact more efficiently with our trade ally contractors, increasing participation and satisfaction by giving them more choice in the tools they use and reducing data errors and redundancy.”

Staged Retrofit Offers an Energy Efficiency Pathway vs. ‘All or Nothing’ Approach

The Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), which runs energy efficiency programs in multiple regions of Virginia, and EnergySavvy have announced the deployment of a business and technology strategy to grow energy efficiency savings in a post-ARRA world through the implementation of staged retrofit.

Early adopters of upgrades and retrofits were able to take advantage of generous federal, state, and local incentives and rebates. Often, those incentives drove comprehensive whole-house and whole-building retrofits.

Staged_Retrofit_GraphicBut the low-hanging fruit is increasingly harder to find. To make energy efficiency more attainable for a larger number of customers, programs have figured out that people are more likely to make a to-do list and chip away over time as they have the money.

Quantifying and Delivering on the Promise of Staged Retrofit

Technical sophistication is required in tracking, quantifying and delivering energy efficiency measures and savings in a staged approach. Energy efficiency programs offered by states and utilities need to generate leads and track progress through multiple projects and potentially multiple programs.

Optix, EnergySavvy’s demand-side management system, has built-in staged retrofit capabilities:

• Providing programs with sophisticated customer targeting algorithms

• Tracking measures implemented over time through multiple projects and programs

• Re-marketing throughout stages

• Maintaining a consistent record of each customer across programs

The Optix staged retrofit template is one of many program templates within the platform alongside single measure, energy audit, home retrofit, commercial assessment, commercial single measure, commercial retrofit, and others.

Simplifying Reporting to Help Energy Efficiency Reach Scale

Two recently published Building Performance Institute (BPI) data standards are simplifying how programs collect and report data on residential building performance projects to help the industry reach scale: BPI-2100-S-2013 Standard for Home Performance-Related Data Transfer, which is informally known as Home Performance XML, or HPXML, and its companion standard, BPI-2200-S-2013 Standard for Home Performance-Related Data Collection.

The data collection and transfer standards were developed through an industry stakeholder process led by the National Home Performance Council (NHPC) and the Building Performance Institute (BPI). HPXML defines a standard language for communicating and transferring information and data on residential building performance between contractors with different software systems.  HPXML allows platforms like EnergySavvy Optix to communicate seamlessly with contractor auditing tools and with other distributed Information Technology (IT) systems in the energy efficiency industry.

Industry Support for Staged Retrofit and Software Standards

Leading industry organizations, such as National Home Performance Council (NHPC), are advocating for a “staged” approach to energy efficiency that encourage “homeowners to plan for the long term and implement energy efficiency improvements over time in such a way that they would eventually achieve a certain level of energy savings (i.e. a specified decrease in energy consumption)” (NHPC, 2013).

This staged approach may reduce program costs and minimize the upfront costs to homeowners by allowing them to make improvements over time, or to bundle energy efficient improvements with other, planned improvements. Having the infrastructure in place is crucial for implementing this strategy; programs or participating contractors must be able to track and measure energy savings from improvements over time, as well as predict how different measures, implemented over several years, will add up to a given level of savings.

Larry Zarker, CEO of the Building Performance Institute (BPI), helps develop standards for the industry. “Our goal is to help contractors, utilities and financing entities share information without imposing a burdensome new data collection process on each,” said Zarker. “This allows the industry to cost effectively track the energy savings created by home efficiency improvements, which in turn builds consumer confidence in the home performance industry.”


About LEAP

LEAP is a nonprofit energy services organization based in Virginia modeled as a community-based, public-private partnership. The statewide organization has been running its programs on EnergySavvy Optix and early in 2013 celebrated 1,000 home energy upgrades in central Virginia alone.

About National Home Performance Council

The National Home Performance Council (NHPC) is a national, nonprofit organization that works with federal governmental agencies, program administrators, utilities, contractors, and others to advance residential energy efficiency in the U.S. through standards development, stakeholder engagement, policy analysis, and research. For more information, visit:

About BPI

BPI is the nation’s premier building performance credentialing, quality assurance and standards setting organization. BPI develops technical standards using an open, transparent, consensus-based process built on sound building science. BPI is approved by the American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI) as an accredited developer of American National Standards and as a certifying body for personnel credentials.

About EnergySavvy

Utility and state energy efficiency programs rely on EnergySavvy’s demand-side management system to quantify and deliver savings. Bringing all stakeholders onto one platform, EnergySavvy Optix drives better program performance, increases customer engagement and achieves evaluation-ready measurability. Clients include Arizona Public Service, Tennessee Valley Authority, NYSERDA and Puget Sound Energy. Information at