Energy Efficiency Programs Overview and Performance
Xcel Energy has developed a broad portfolio of energy efficiency offerings so all customers have an opportunity to participate. From rebate programs to energy audits to recycling services, our award-winning programs provide solutions that our customers value. Not only can customers save money by improving efficiency, these projects also help the environment.
We have been a leader in energy efficiency and conservation since the 1990s, and currently offer nearly 150 electric and gas programs for residential and business customers. Our Xcel Energy website helps customers learn more about the many program choices and rebates available to them. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for customers to access our programs and understand the benefits of energy efficiency.
In 2014, Xcel Energy provided more than $86 million in rebates to residential and business customers. In total, our programs had nearly 2.8 million electricity and 886,000 natural gas participants―some of our customers participate in multiple programs.
Xcel Energy is always evaluating emerging technologies and program models to develop products that benefit different customer groups. An important part of the process is considering what our customers and communities want and value. Xcel Energy assesses its demand side management product offerings based on several criteria in addition to cost effectiveness. We seek to ensure:
- Value to all stakeholders
- Options for all customers groups
- Control over costs and customer rate impacts
- Balance between energy and demand savings
- Products that provide long-term energy and demand savings to meet future customer needs
Our energy efficiency programs were nationally recognized in 2014. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) staff and board of directors selected Xcel Energy as the Best Energy Service Provider/Utility in the nation, as part of the organization’s Best of Building Awards that recognize the year’s best green products, projects, organizations and individuals making an impact in green building. E Source ranked Xcel Energy’s Colorado Energy Design Assistance program in its Top Technologies and Trends of 2014. The program successfully improved the energy efficiency of commercial new construction projects by developing a unique tracking system to improve the program and allow more customers to participate. In addition, the USGBC Colorado recognized 12 Xcel Energy customers for their exemplary building projects at the Colorado Green Commercial Real Estate awards. Of the 17 projects nominated, 12 participated in Xcel Energy’s energy efficiency programs, helping them maximize efficiency and earn a nomination.
See the details of our energy efficiency program results for 2014.
Energy Efficiency Open Houses and Customer Awards
We recognized 12 businesses in Colorado and six businesses in Minnesota for their individual efforts to save energy through our 2014 energy efficiency programs. These companies collectively saved more than 63 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and more than 1.3 million therms of natural gas. Awards were presented at our energy efficiency open houses in Denver and St. Paul. More than 400 business customers attended the Denver event, and more than 600 business customers attended the St. Paul expo. These events featured teams of experts from Xcel Energy and outside organizations, providing participants with energy saving ideas and rebate opportunities, as well as information on energy efficiency study funding. The St. Paul event included a technology showcase to educate customers on available options, including the latest lighting and variable frequency drive and controls equipment.
State-by-state Overview and Performance
Program offerings range from prescriptive rebates to in-home services providing energy efficient materials and installation labor. Consumer education is included with most of the residential programs to increase conservation awareness and to encourage energy-wise choices and behavior in the home.
In 2014, the residential electric efficiency products in Minnesota exceeded our participation and savings goals. The Home Lighting program was the leading performer among the electric programs, exceeding its energy savings goal by approximately 25 gigawatt-hours. The program experienced continued strong customer response to promotions and event marketing. The Residential Cooling, Energy Feedback and Refrigerator Recycling also contributed significant electric savings. The ENERGY STAR Homes® program more than doubled its electric savings in 2014, due in large part to combining efforts with CenterPoint Energy’s new ENERGY STAR Homes gas program.
Nearly all the residential natural gas programs exceeded our energy savings goals primarily because of high—and in some cases unprecedented—participation levels, including strong contributions from Heating System Rebate, Energy Feedback, ENERGY STAR Homes and Energy Efficient Showerheads programs.
The business segment includes electric and natural gas commercial, industrial and small business customers. We offer a variety of programs that encourage business customers to save energy, lower their energy bills and/or peak demand and minimize environmental impacts. These include:
Electric efficiency and conservation programs for businesses showed strong results in 2014. Overall, the gas portfolio performance was strong due to a number of very large project completions that had been in the works for several years. Business New Construction had another outstanding year, bringing in more than 56 gigawatt-hours of savings—the culmination of focused efforts over the past few years, return of a healthy economy within the region and increased interest in green building certifications and practices. Growth in this market is expected to continue. The Lighting Efficiency and Process Efficiency programs produced more than 117 gigawatt-hours of energy savings. The holistic approach of Process Efficiency in particular encourages the development of targeted savings plans to encourage customers toward deeper and sustained efficiency improvements.
Trade and community groups continue to engage in efficiency projects. We provide the tools and resources they need to advocate for energy efficiency. Through these partnerships, we are able to expand our reach, generate awareness and increase participation in our efficiency programs.
The low-income segment includes the Home Energy Savings program (HESP), Multi-Family Energy Savings program (MESP) and Low-Income Home Energy Squad program. These services and products help income-qualified customers reduce their energy use and ultimately lower their bills. HESP offers customers a home energy use analysis to identify areas for energy savings and free energy efficiency upgrades. MESP provides electric energy efficiency measures and information to customers in multi-family buildings. The Low-Income Home Energy Squad program performs a quick assessment of each participant’s home and implements energy saving measures during one visit.
In its second year, MESP continued to show strong performance in 2014 due to high participation numbers in large complexes combined with strong interest from property management organizations.
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Xcel Energy’s energy efficiency portfolio for South Dakota customers is a mix of electric programs designed to encourage our residential and business customers to save energy and lower their energy bills in a variety of ways. For businesses, we offer Lighting Efficiency Rebates as well as load management programs to help reduce peak demand. For residential customers, we offer Ground Source Heat Pump Rebates, discounted CFL and LED bulbs through our Home Lighting program and educational outreach programs. 2014 was our third year with active programs in South Dakota, and we continue to work with customers and trade partners to promote energy efficiency.
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Xcel Energy provides savings opportunities for North Dakota customers through our load management programs, as well as gas education, energy audit and rebate programs.
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Xcel Energy participates in a statewide program called Focus on Energy that provides incentives to eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses for installing cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
Xcel Energy retains a portion of the approved annual funding for our voluntary customer programs and to promote the Focus on Energy programs. The retained dollars also fund general conservation activities, advertising and energy efficiency education for residential customers, commercial customers and trade allies in our service territory.
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In Michigan, Xcel Energy participates in a statewide program called Efficiency United that educates residential and commercial customers about energy efficiency and offers cost-effective solutions and rebates for reducing energy use. Michigan does not allow Xcel Energy to retain any of the funding dollars for internal programs.
Xcel Energy’s residential energy efficiency programs focus on cost-effective, direct impact products that target household appliances and lighting. This effort is supplemented with educational services intended to further increase customer understanding and interest in conservation and energy efficiency.
In 2014, the products in our residential programs performed very well, with the following electric and gas products exceeding their targets: ENERGY STAR® New Homes, High Efficiency Air Conditioning, Home Lighting & Recycling, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, Refrigerator Recycling, School Education Kits and Water Heating. In addition, 1.5 percent of total residential natural gas rebates paid were attributed to Colorado Flood Victim Rebates—primarily through higher rebates for homeowners who rebuilt with high efficiency furnaces and water heaters.
Energy efficiency sales to business customers are achieved through Xcel Energy’s account managers and Business Solutions Center, end-use equipment vendors and energy service companies. Our business program—for commercial and industrial customers of all sizes—offers a broad portfolio of demand side management products designed to meet the needs of this varied segment. The portfolio has three primary components:
In 2014, the performance of the electric products in Xcel Energy’s business program exceeded target—at 127 percent of anticipated net generator kilowatt-hours. Lighting Efficiency was the largest contributor to business program achievements, as anticipated, followed by New Construction and Process Efficiency products due to economic improvements. In addition, Computer Efficiency, Data Centers and Compressed Air exceeded their electric savings targets due to improvements in the economy and increased activity with trade partners and manufacturers.
The performance of our natural gas products in the business program exceeded the anticipated savings target by 45 percent in 2014. These achievements—aided by more construction growth due to improved economic conditions—resulted in higher participation and savings in our New Construction, Custom Efficiency and Energy Management Systems programs.
The primary objective of low-income programs is to reduce energy use in homes of low-income customers, thereby helping to reduce bills.
The low-income program consists of the Single-Family Weatherization, Multi-Family Weatherization, Energy Savings Kit and Non-Profit Energy Efficiency programs. The programs analyze the natural gas and electric use of low-income customers and provide products, services and information to help them lower energy bills.
In 2014, the main driver in the electric and gas low-income portfolio was our Multi-Family Weatherization program, which exceeded its anticipated performance due to higher than expected participation.
Xcel Energy offers a broad portfolio of programs to meet the needs of business, residential and low-income customers in our eastern New Mexico service territory. In 2014, our expanded program offerings saw strong performance and surpassed the annual goal. In our residential portfolio, the Home Lighting and Residential and Low-Income Home Energy Services programs far exceeded their goals. On the business side the Cooling and Motors & Drives programs were the strongest contributors toward the portfolio success.
We offer our Texas customers energy efficiency programs through third-party standard and custom contracts. These programs are provided to residential, low-income, small commercial, and commercial and industrial customers.