Centering equity means that energy efficiency programs need to acknowledge and account for starting-line disparities by recognizing the harms of the past, incorporating voices from those who have been most burdened by these decisions, and taking proactive approaches to ensure that the benefits of energy efficiency programs are accessible to every resident.
While energy efficiency programs have policies to ensure access and prioritize historically marginalized and/or underserved communities, these standards focus on equity in access to programs and not equity in access to benefits. Expanding the objectives of energy efficiency programs to include energy equity will require changes in how programs are designed, executed, and evaluated.
The evaluation, measurement, and verification (EM&V) process can be a great starting point to drive change because it relies on the collection and analysis of metrics or data to measure program success. Data is important because it illustrates policy decisions with numbers and helps hold programs and institutions accountable. By making changes to the EM&V process through bringing in community stakeholders and using data, policymakers and implementers can establish a baseline understanding of how inequities are embedded in current programs, provide accountability to remedy these injustices throughout program design, and ensure measurable, real achievement.
Integrating equitable data and metrics into energy efficiency policy will provide insight into how programs are not working and offer guidance on what can be changed. NEEP has identified six ways that policy makers and program administrators can identify, embed, and evaluate progress towards energy equity in energy efficiency programs through the evaluation, measurement, and verification process:
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