Energy and water efficiency kits have represented an established role in the energy efficiency arena since the 1990s and have proven to be a versatile and effective way to engage customers, according to research from AM Conservation Group and Illume Advising, which looked at the impact of energy and water efficiency product kits and the savings they offer to energy-efficiency portfolios throughout the country.
Today, conservation kit programs serve two primary purposes in an efficiency portfolio -- as a gateway to efficiency and to increase customer participation in other regional energy and water savings programs.
The study revealed that utility customers are most likely to adopt energy and water savings technologies when the efficiency kits are combined with direct outreach, such as direct mail fliers, and educational opportunities, such as pamphlets, videos and workshops.
"Contrary to popular belief, utilities don't want consumers to use large amounts of energy because that leads to a need for expensive additional infrastructures to support the use," said Todd Recknagel, CEO of AM Conservation Group. "Utility companies will do whatever it takes, including distribution of efficiency kits and educational tools to help lower energy and water use. These programs help utilities save money on infrastructure and meet government regulations, as well as provide cost saving benefits to consumers."
The research looked at the inclusion rates of various energy and water saving products offered in efficiency kits and found that CFLs are most often included in utility provided efficiency kits with a rate of 100 percent. High-efficiency showerheads and high-efficiency faucet aerators also have a significant inclusion rate of 89 percent.
The inclusion rates of other products analyzed included water heater pipe insulation, water heater set-backs, furnace filter alarms, advanced power strips and weather-stripping, as well as LED nightlights and flow rate bags.