Assessing the Effectiveness of a Concurrent Impact Evaluation Process

Leaving the Rearview Mirror Behind: Assessing the Effectiveness of a Concurrent Impact Evaluation Process

Betsy Ricker and Nick Collins, ERS, and Cheryl Glanton and Carley Murray, NYSERDA
Presented at the 2015 IEPEC. Image credit: tinabold

A traditional post-installation impact evaluation of industrial energy efficiency programs is conducted several years after the completion of energy projects. Because this rearview mirror approach has its limitations, such as missed opportunities for pre-installation metering and baseline definition, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Industrial and Process Efficiency (IPE) program has implemented a unique concurrent evaluation process in which impact evaluators work alongside program implementers on the largest and most complex projects in real time. In general, projects chosen for this process have large preliminary savings estimates and complicated baselines. This often means the selected projects have the highest risk of differences between projected and realized savings. The concurrent review process seeks to reduce this risk by including evaluator input on key issues throughout the project life cycle – from incentive commitment to final reported savings. Concurrent evaluation also benefits the program and evaluation process by requiring fewer touch points for the customers while improving engineering rigor and quality.

This paper assesses the effectiveness of the concurrent evaluation process through the lens of a recently completed impact evaluation of NYSERDA’s IPE program. It builds on previous work summarizing the early lessons learned through the concurrent evaluation process and discusses how these changes have improved process efficiency. The paper also provides implementer and evaluator perspectives on the concurrent review process itself, its mission, its impact on the realization of industrial energy efficiency savings in New York State, and its applicability to other programs and jurisdictions.

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