From 2014 through 2015, eight Ohio communities participated in the Community Energy Savers pilot program. Each community selected goals between two to sixteen times over their baseline participation to be achieved within a three to five months timeframe. To accomplish their goal, each community, with AEP Ohio’s support, developed marketing campaigns bringing the benefits of energy efficiency to their residents and businesses.
The communities’ marketing and outreach approaches included:
- Door to door outreach to small businesses
- Outreach to multi-family property managers/owners
- Announcements at local events
- Presentations at local clubs meetings, such as Kiwanis, Rotary, YMCA, etc.
- Press releases and news stories
- Mass and customized e-mails
- Direct mailing
- Social media posts
- Schools outreach - flyer distribution.
If your community is participating in the CES program or is looking to join the partnership, the following lessons learned may be useful:
- Elect the goal based on existing opportunities for growth, such as available human resources for outreach, number of multi-family properties, businesses, and residents that are likely to collaborate and participate in the selected energy efficiency programs
- Select a community project for award with high significance for the community and its residents and businesses
- The participation in specific programs, such as the Multi-Family Direct Install, can deliver a significant leap towards the selected goal
- Clearly communicate deadline and program awards to gain community’s interest
- Delegate a recognized and active community member as a ‘program champion’ to promote the initiative and spur action
- Use any available media outlets to communicate the benefits that come along with CES initiative and incorporate a call for action
- Please note that it takes several weeks to start seeing the progress towards the goal, as there is always a time delay in processing the participation data. On average, a two-week delay in data can be experienced throughout the participation period.
The resulting program impacts and market penetration were significant in all participating communities!
- Communities achieved overall participation penetration rates of between 5 and 22%
- Each community exceeded their respective goals and was eligible to receive financial awards and technical assistance in the development of a Sustainability Roadmap
- Six communities exceeded their previous whole year participation numbers in the AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency programs in five months or less
- Six communities developed a Sustainability Roadmap that will further underscore their commitment to sustainability
- All communities implemented energy efficiency or community projects supported with the pilot financial awards.