Make Energy Efficiency Easy

Energy Performance Index Ltd, or EPI, is a UK-based energy efficiency consulting firm. They seek to allow companies across multiple industries to enter energy data and learn about various strategies to reduce costs and improve competitive positioning.

Kevin Surace, the CEO of Serious Materials, a leading green building company, recently tweeted about one of EPI’s blog posts:

@KevinSurace: Efficiency hasn’t taken off…yet. Here is the answer.

As we’ve described in our writing here, we fully agree with Kevin and with EPI. EPI lays out a clear analogy that captures many of the suggestions we make at Financing Efficiency. Energy efficiency needs to be easy – very easy – for building owners to understand the value proposition and sign up. EPI likens the current state of efficiency firms to  offering a “kit car” – a custom assembly-required, specialty product that requires lots of time and expert knowledge to put together, and even then it’s quite difficult to get running properly.

EPI then contrasts this kit car approach with modern car manufacturers who sell a “solution.” Car companies sell the branding and potential use of the car rather than the sum of its components and engineering. They also make it incredibly easy for a customer to walk in and purchase a car through any number of financing solutions, and in some cases, the financing side of the business has become as significant a driver of profit as the actual sale of cars. This streamlining of customer experience is built on the same fundamentals that drive the success of Apple’s iTunes store or the Amazon webstore. The end result is to make it incredibly easy for customers to purchase product.

EPI has four key conclusions for the energy efficiency industry:

  1. Develop turn-key propositions that meet customer needs and provide “off the shelf solutions” – not a box of bits or components
  2. Target their propositions towards the key drivers within their customers:
    • Saving money (on their energy bills)
    • Complying with government legislation / requirements
    • Appealing to their customers, whilst demonstrating they are acting responsibly by becoming green
  3. Market with a simple sales message, for instance, if targeting money saving, then the sales message should be based on ROI, payback or bottom line savings.
  4. Make it easy for the customer to buy. Telling the customer that they “must have a detailed technical survey, collect usage data, undertake an analysis exercise corrected by degree days over the last quarter, have a bespoke solution designed, etc.” won’t drive adoption.

Interestingly, Serious Materials is starting to take these lessons to heart. Serious has recently made several strategic moves that hint at offering a more comprehensive solution to enhance sales. First, they acquired Valence Energy (now Serious Energy) in order to expand their presence in continuous commissioning and building monitoring software. Presumably the company hopes to bundle the software with their core window product and make it more of a turnkey solution that can be sold to building owners.

Kevin’s has also recently hired Claire Broido Johnson, co-founder of one of the most successful solar energy start-ups, SunEdison, to run Serious Capital, an arm that will help to provide customers with financing to execute energy efficiency retrofits. Starting to sound a bit like those modern auto manufacturers.

Let’s hope that other competitors follow EPI’s suggestions and Serious Materials’ lead and make it easy for owners to make buildings more efficient.


One Response to Make Energy Efficiency Easy

  1. This is a smart blog. I imply it. You have so a lot understanding about this issue, and so a lot passion. You also know how to make men and women rally behind it, definitely from the responses. Youve got a pattern here thats not too flashy, but can make a statement as big as what youre saying. Excellent job, indeed.

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