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CEEA’s Efficiency Matters Blog

Great energy efficiency programs need strong local partners

Energy Efficiency Q & A: Amelia Warren, EfficiencyOne

Amelia Warren is the Director, Customer Experience & Partnerships at EfficiencyOne, operator of Efficiency Nova Scotia, and a CEEA board member. Prior to joining EfficiencyOne in 2013 she was with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Q. What are the keys to Efficiency Nova Scotia’s success?

Amelia Warren says energy efficiency has to be made tangible for customers.

A. One of the keys to our success is our model, we’re an independent, non-profit organization and we have a focussed mandate. In many jurisdictions,,energy efficiency programming is administered by utilities or by government, but our independent model has allowed us to focus on achieving energy savings and develop expertise in program design and delivery. We also understand the importance of partnership. We work closely with our stakeholders, and with a number of partners to deliver energy efficiency services – everyone from community groups to contractors to engineers and architects to retailers and manufacturers. Supporting the growth of the local energy efficiency industry is a key part of what we do.

Q. How did the $56.3 million in funding from the federal government happen? What projects are in the works?

A . We work closely with the Nova Scotia government – they’ve been very supportive of energy efficiency’s role in combatting climate change and included energy efficiency projects as a key part of their commitments under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. In fact, we were extremely pleased to see energy efficiency featured prominently in nearly every province’s response to the Framework, and to see our work in Nova Scotia recognized as a best practice. We’re proud to be part of Nova Scotia’s success to date, but there is enormous potential to do more. Federal funding will allow us to expand our existing programs and services to include all fuels, and to reach even more customers.

Q. Partnerships are a key part of your role. What is your approach to making effective partnerships?

Efficiency Nova Scotia’s Efficiency Trade Network connects residential and commercial customers with contractors, insulation installers and other energy service providers.

A. First and foremost, we work with local businesses to deliver our services so we understand that effective partnerships are critical to our success. We select our delivery partners through a competitive tendering process, but we also work with a wide range of industry partners through our Efficiency Trade Network, including contractors, insulators, engineers, architects, distributors, consultants – anyone who touches our customers. The network is a great source of feedback for us on how we’re doing so we can improve. We hear about processes that maybe don’t work as well as they could, we get ideas for new product rebates – all of it helps us deliver the best services we can. We also offer free or discounted training to Network members to help continue to build the capacity of our local industry. The Bright Business Conference is a key part of that work. When we started, there wasn’t a place for industry partners to gather locally to share best practices and learn from efficiency experts in other jurisdictions. Over the past several years, we’ve worked hard to develop that hub right here in Nova Scotia and create a network for sharing best practices in our industry.

Q. How effective will energy efficiency be to help Canada meet its climate change goals?

A . This is an area where energy efficiency is so strong and compelling because it is one of the only solutions that is easy to do, is low cost, and has numerous spin-off benefits for industry and for consumers. You can meet climate change goals while directly contributing to your local economy and saving consumers money at the same time. At CEEA, you’ll often hear the phrase “efficiency first” with respect to climate change. It’s really the first step because it’s the cheapest, fastest way to meet climate change goals and grow the economy at the same time.

Q. You are also responsible for customer experience. What key learnings can you share?

A. The challenge we face, and that every energy efficiency organization faces, is trying to get customers excited about something you can’t feel, touch or see. We have to find ways to make energy savings tangible by speaking to what really matters to customers – things like a warmer, more comfortable home, or a bright and quiet work environment. What can energy efficiency add to your life or your business beyond energy savings? What are the benefits you can start enjoying right away? At the end of the day, new countertops are more exciting than new insulation, even though the insulation will save you money. We have to make the insulation appealing, as much as we can, in the same way a countertop is.

Q. What is the focus of this year’s Bright Business Conference?

 

Best practices are always on display at the Bright Business Conference.

Best practices are always a focal point at the Bright Business Conference.A. The conference is focussed on the people who work in the energy efficiency industry and the opportunity to learn from one another in terms of best practices. The theme this year is “The Good Things Efficiency Brings”, and how to go beyond energy savings and cost savings when we talk energy efficiency. We’re bringing in speakers and experts from across Canada – it’s going to be a great event.

The 2017 Bright Business Conference and Awards will be held on October 17th at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can register here.

Posted August 23, 2017

McDonald Interior Colour 2014

Elizabeth McDonald is president of CEEA

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