One of the biggest challenges in energy efficiency program evaluation is providing evaluation findings which can influence program design and delivery in a timely manner.Program implementers often state that evaluation findings come too late. In some cases, the evaluation findings point to issues the implementers have already addressed. In other cases, the findings are still relevant but are difficult to implement because program designs and delivery mechanisms are already set in place.
This paper discusses how program evaluators and implementers can overcome these problems through closer collaboration and faster delivery of evaluation findings. We describe practices from our evaluation work in Michigan including: 1) providing early feedback on proposed energy efficiency projects to help screen out projects that risk lower realization rates;2) performing quarterly reviews of program tracking databases to provide "early warnings" on issues that could put the program at risk of not meeting savings goals; and 3) regular meetings between evaluators and implementers to discuss issues of common concern.
The paper will also discuss issues that can make evaluator/implementer collaboration more challenging. These include inadequate levels of trust between evaluators and implementers and the need for program evaluators to preserve their independence and objectivity.