When in 2007 a bar graph categorizing industrial project count by size (measured in kWh energy savings) showed a void at the small end of the project size range, Energy Trust of Oregon program managers knew they were looking at yet another example of the familiar conclusion that the small industrial energy efficiency market is hard to reach. Despite four years of industrial program availability, the "market" for energy efficiency projects in the sub 40,000 kWh range remained virtually untapped.
To address the gap, Energy Trust launched a "Small Industrial Initiative" in which the approach to outreach, analysis, administration, and communication was tailored specifically to the needs of smaller industrial customers and their equipment vendors in a cost effective manner. Compressed air was selected as the first focus area because of widespread use, potential for savings, and relatively concentrated supply chain. Irrigation measures soon followed but required modifications to the delivery structure to suit the agriculture market. Each segment provided unique and valuable lessons that were quickly integrated into further improving the delivery process. The approach includes a combination of a vendor driven calculation tools with quick turn around processing. Focusing on streamlined business processes and clear communication with rapid turnaround proved to be the keys to success.
The results have been gratifying; with participant rates jumping from just a few projects in 2007 to 54 completed in 2008 using the new "Small Industrial" approach. Results, vendor feedback, and opportunities for further improvement are explored.