A sample of our works, presentations, and publications. If you would like to learn more about these projects, please let us know.

From Grid to Human Resilience: Lessons from Public Health

The 2018 California wildfires underscored disproportionate environmental and health burdens in disadvantaged communities. We explore the energy-health nexus by asking, ‘what actions are required to ready our most vulnerable communities for climate change?’…

Change is Hard: Understanding How We Approach Decisions Can Help

Rallying around aggressive carbon reduction goals means big changes. But how can our industry change when we cling to the familiar? Read the magazine article

Case Study: New Metrics – What Assessing Energy Burden and Bill Impacts Can and Can’t Tell Us

Reorienting toward equity, utilities are seeking ways to remedy disparities through income eligible (IE) offerings. Learn how we helped a Midwest utility client determine the level of energy savings necessary to reduce an income-eligible…

Jes Rivas
From Community Engagement to Ownership

Climate change and social and environmental injustice is inspiring all of us to become better energy citizens. But is our industry ready to take on the difficult work of centering communities? Read the…

Case Study: Understanding our Underserved Majority

What happens when we reject monolithic thinking, and listen to customers’ lived experiences to find out what matters most to them? Read more in our case study of nonparticipation in Massachusetts. READ THE…

Laura Schauer
Case Study: Integrated Market Research Unlocks the New Tech Win-Win

How can utilities capitalize on their natural edge as a known and trusted energy provider? Learn how ILLUME used an integrated research approach to uncover new revenue streams in an increasingly competitive environment.…

Right Answers to the Wrong Questions?

Sometimes approaching research with the standards of evaluation can be costly and deliver fewer valuable insights when other research methods might be better suited for nascent offerings. Read the magazine article

What’s the Deal with BE?

The West Coast gets a lot of attention when it comes to beneficial electrification, but other parts of the country are making important strides to move away from carbon-generated electricity. Read the magazine…

The State of Storage: Q&A with EnerDel

As U.S. automobile manufacturers prepare for an all-electric future, we can’t help but ask the question: are domestic battery companies positioned to meet our needs? Read the magazine article

Redrawing our Mental Maps of Income-Eligible Customers

Addressing inequality requires that we test our own assumptions. Our data-viz team uncovers patterns and clusters of information using GIS tools to inform program participation and reduce adoption barriers. Read the magazine article

Isolated but Innovative: Learning from Islands

Learn how Puerto Rico and other islands have deployed technologies like microgrids and solar and storage to meet their renewable energy goals while creating resiliency in the face of climate catastrophes. Read the…

Get Smart! Applying Smart Thermostat Lessons to DERs

What go-to-market models are needed to drive adoption of DERs and maximize their grid benefits? Here’s how smart thermostats are providing important learnings for scaling DER adoption and increasing program participation. Read the…

From Widgets to Ecosystems

We have seen a shift in innovation away from smart device hardware and toward a more connected infrastructure. With so many companies pivoting into this space, what will an energy ecosystem enable? Read…

The Energy Equity Playbook

How do we define equity and understand the challenge in front of us? In this special issue, we shed light on equity considerations as we examine how our industry can ensure that historically…

Electric Cars: An Offbeat History

Electric vehicles made their debut during the era of the horse and buggy! In honor of more than a century of EVs, we dug into automobile archives in search of forgotten history. Read…

Climate Change is Here. Is Your City Ready?

Are you going to be underwater or sweating it out? We break down data from the ND-GAIN Urban Adaptation Assessment to map how five U.S. cities are preparing for climate change. Read the…

Let’s Take Off Our Rose-Colored Glasses

We kick-off our 2020 magazine, Ingenuity and Resilience, by framing two truths that we must contend with to design the policies, programs, and interventions necessary to ready our communities for climate change. Read…

Reach Anxiety

Everyone is talking about EVs, but ownership is limited to a few. In this article, we talk about EV affordability as cities and states pursue aggressive climate mandates. Read the magazine article

Val Jensen Sees the Future, It’s Connected Communities

ILLUME Co-Founder Anne Dougherty sits down with Val Jensen to talk about his role as Vice President of Strategy & Policy at Exelon Utilities, the utility of the future, equity, and connected communities.…

CenterPoint Doubles Down on Data to Deliver Smarter Programs

CenterPoint has long been interested in an energy efficiency dashboard. How does a utility, operating across multiple verticals, create an intelligence platform for decision making? Read the magazine article

Alexa! Show me my Smart Home.

As our homes get smarter, utilities can offer ways to meet customer expectations and provide seamless participation in DR programs. Here are some technologies offering new load management opportunities. Read the magazine article

Case Study: Are EV-Supporting Programs Revving the Market?

ILLUME led research to evaluate and understand the market impact of National Grid’s EV charging incentive program in 2020. READ THE CASE STUDY

Shannon Kahl
SOMAH Phase 1 Evaluation Final Report

In this evaluation of the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program for San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) ILLUME took part in the evaluation of early feedback on the program’s goals, design,…

Massachusetts EV Charging Station Program Evaluation Report: Program Year 1

In partnership with ERS and Dunsky, we share year 1 findings of National Grid’s EV Charging Station Program in MA. ILLUME led the process evaluation and longitudinal market study of changes in EV…

Shannon Kahl
Volume 2 – Ingenuity and Resilience

We are proud to share the second volume of ILLUME’s annual publication, Ingenuity and Resilience, as we take on the most pressing topic of our time: climate change. Read the magazine    …

How to Deal with DERs

Distributed energy resources (DERs) are putting customers back in the driver’s seat. Here are five ways we can meet customer needs while balancing the needs of the grid. Read the magazine article

Setting the Table for Change: Why Effective Translation is Like Throwing a Memorable Dinner Party

Asking would-be participants to navigate offerings in a language that is not their own is like getting invited to a dinner party where you don’t feel welcome. So how do we ensure our…

Reorienting Toward Equity

Our nation, and our organizations, are contending with failed equity policies. To remedy historic and structural wrongs, we need a roadmap. Read the magazine article

Reframing DEI from an Individual Resource to an Organizational Value: An Interview with Sherard Robbins

ILLUME sits down with Visceral Change’s Sherard Robbins to talk candidly about diversity, equity, and inclusion and reflect on the hard truths of 2020. Read the magazine article

When it Rains it Pours: Are State Rainy Day Funds Prepared for Pandemics and Climate Change?

Rather than treating the pandemic as an outlier, states should look to the pandemic as a dry run for devastating, and costly, future climate disasters. Read the magazine article

A Timeline of Three Crises: How COVID-19 Raised the Stakes for Racial and Climate Justice

The year 2020 was marked by a global pandemic, racial injustice, and climate change. This is the journey of how ILLUME advised our industry through a year of uncertainty. Read the magazine article

Disaster as Catalyst

The year 2020 was marked by disasters. In this article, we look back at history as we reflect on past environmental disasters and the major changes in policy that followed. Read the magazine…

COVID-19 is Making Us Sick, Energy Efficiency is Part of the Cure

The pandemic elevated public health back into the national conversation. How will utilities continue to value, reframe, and extol the many measurable public health and safety benefits of our industry after COVID-19 recedes?…

Corporate Social Responsibility 2.0: How Conscious Capitalism can Deliver Value

In this article we take a closer look at ways utilities and the private sector are being called upon to generate smart, pro-social, and more forward-thinking business and policy strategies to mitigate the…

Is Biased Language Undercutting Your Diversity and Equity Efforts?

Rooting out bias from our industry’s lexicon requires intention. Here we explore a framework to shift commonly-used phrases from harmful framing to more dignifying language. Read the magazine article

All Hands Design: Participation and Democracy as Innovation

Participatory design can help utilities gather input from a wide range of stakeholders before offerings hit the market. Here’s a step-by-step guide. Read the magazine article

Your Customers are Woke, are You?

As utility customers grow increasingly diverse, our industry has an opportunity to evolve how we outreach and communicate with our customers. Here are a few strategies to get the conversation started. Read the…

Teaching the Old Evaluation Dog New Tricks

Program evaluation has largely been the tail wagging the dog. But for emerging and pilot initiatives, evaluation can also play a strong research and information support role. Here’s how. Read the magazine article

Energy Efficiency Deserts

Lisa Obear presents findings from her research with Liz Kelley and Amanda Maass exploring energy efficiency deserts in Metro Atlanta.

Lisa LeBeau Obear Liz Kelley Amanda Maass
Delivering a Smart Home Offering from the Customer Up

Learn how DTE partnered with ILLUME to develop a customer-centric model to discover smart home offerings, test customer responses, and show savings potential. Read the magazine article

Research Your (Un)Knowns to Innovate

Innovating shouldn’t feel like trying to pry open a black box. We explore go-to research approaches to help utilities uncover new markets and expand program offerings. READ THE MAGAZINE ARTICLE

Generation Z is Coming!

Frugal, socially-conscious, and born online, Generation Z deviates from Millennials and other generations in key ways. Here are six things you should know about Gen Z. READ THE MAGAZINE ARTICLE

Stay Calm and Rate Reform On

Utilities are turning to rate reform to manage peak loads and engage customers. Learn how ILLUME supported utility clients to across rate communications strategy, design, and evaluation efforts. Read the Magazine Article  

Case Study: From Energy Efficiency to Demand Impacts – In search of viable offerings.

As the need for demand mitigation increases, how can utilities and program administrators extend energy efficiency portfolios to increase demand impacts? Read the case study

Jes Rivas
Show Me, Don’t Tell Me: First-Hand Experience is the Gatekeeper to Widespread EV and EVSE Adoption

The Biden administration is bringing coherence to the EV landscape. But what about customers and site hosts? Are there persistent barriers we need to overcome? Read the magazine article

Innovation Breakdown

Small and medium businesses present an untapped opportunity for energy savings. Read how ILLUME employed a Statewide Commercial Behavioral Segmentation and Potential Study to uncover millions of therms of energy savings in Minnesota.…

So, You Want to be the Amazon of Energy?

Utility driven marketplaces show promise for expanding revenue streams. But how can utilities meet the high—and growing—customer expectations for fulfillment, communications, and service that are the hallmark of the Amazon model? Read the…

Georgia Power is Leading by Their Customers’ Example

When it comes to energy efficiency, context is everything. Learn how ILLUME used in-home and in-business ethnographic research to help Georgia Power explore how social and local culture impacts residents’ perceptions of light,…

Case Study: Hidden in the Basement – Customer Learnings from a DR Study

In a crowded market of new and more efficient appliances, can heat pump water heaters deliver deeper savings and expanded opportunities to leverage DR to support the grid during peak usage? READ THE…

Eileen Hannigan
Hunker Down a Tweet Storm is Coming

Social media is giving voice to a new generation of customers who are using its tools to show where they do and do not align with utility values and behaviors. Read the magazine…

Are you Blockbuster in the Age of Netflix?

In this article, we take a closer look at how utilities can best position themselves to define their value to stay on course with customers. Read the magazine article

Volume 3 – Energy Citizenship

What does it mean to enjoy the rights of our community as energy consumers? In our third magazine, ILLUME explores energy citizenship across four critical themes: equity, climate, technology, and citizen/corporate action. Read…

Using Art to Personalize Data

The voice of the customer is front and center in this illustrated piece as we accompany customers and retailers (virtually) on a shopping trip to understand one simple task: How to purchase a…

Case Study: Integrated HVAC Controls – What We Are Learning From Early Adopters

To reach our industry’s ambitious carbon reduction goals, technology has to work for the environment and for people. In this case study, ILLUME explores how integrated controls foster beneficial electrification and what contractors…

Allison Carlson
All-Electric: Beneficial Electrification Gets a Second Shot at Ubiquity

Electrify everything?! We get to the heart of some of the key themes and tensions around beneficial electrification in our interview with Kathy Kuntz. Read the Magazine Article

Case Study: Unpacking the Meaning Behind Value, Cost, and Price in a Time of Climate Shocks

Extreme weather events nearly always result in the same outcome: power failures. When this happens, utilities can activate incident command protocols and procedures to quickly restore power. But what about those mechanisms to…

Case Study: Holistic Customer Segmentation – An Innovative Approach for Utilities to Drive Customer Value and Profits

ILLUME was contracted by a regional utility to conduct a customer segmentation study that coupled demographic data with satisfaction and engagement behaviors across multiple programs and business functions. Read the case study to…

Alexandra Dunn
CASE STUDY: Understanding Customer Motivations to Reshape Solar Programs

In 2021, ILLUME conducted research to help a southeastern utility understand customers’ experiences with under-subscribed solar offers and to understand how best to serve customers through renewables. Read this case study to find…

Leigh Michael
Existing Homes Process Evaluation

Energy Trust of Oregon contracted with ILLUME Advising, LLC to provide a process evaluation of their Existing Homes program. Anne Dougherty shares ILLUME’s findings in this final report.

Anne Dougherty
Home Energy Report (HER) Savings Literature Review

Our team conducted a thorough review of research addressing the research question: What happens to energy savings when HER recipients no longer receive reports or if they receive reports at a reduced cadence?

Eileen Hannigan
Who are You With? What’s the Catch? Barriers to Participation

ILLUME conducted one of the largest nonparticipant studies in Massachusetts. Here’s what we learned about those who we are missing in our programs and services. Read the magazine article

Volume 1 -Opportunity in Disruption

In ILLUME’s debut issue, we take on everything from defining the customer journey, to how utilities are finding new revenue streams, to our featured story on our work with Georgia Power. Read the…

Natural Gas Water Heating and HVAC Installer Research Report

In their NEEA report, Alex Dunn, Liz Kelley, Shannon Kahl, Amanda Maass, and Andrew Mielcarek share their observations about the supply chain from research with Pacific Northwest HVAC and water-heating equipment contractors.

Alexandra Dunn Liz Kelley Shannon Kahl Amanda Maass Andrew Mielcarek
Customer Insights Meet Business Constraints: Going to Market in a Regulated Environment

At the EPIC conference in 2018, Liz Kelley and Amanda Dwelley talked about their experience helping a utility go to market with a competitive smart home offering in a regulated environment.

Liz Kelley
Methods and Metrics for Divergent Populations

In their 2018 BECC presentation, Allison T. Musvosvi and Shefije Miftari share how their research helped a client listen to their customers to create the right solution to enter the smart home space.

Machine Learning and Ethnography: An Unlikely Pair

The challenge of unstructured data, and why machine learning and AI needs a qualitative methodology like Topic Modeling to be more effective. Presented by Riana Johnson at BECC 2018.

Riana Johnson
What Drives Customers?

In her 2018 presentation at the CEE Partner Meeting, Sara Conzemius shares what customers care about—home, family, harmony, agency. Understanding what influences customers can help implementers offer programs and products that truly connect.

Sara Conzemius
Energy Efficiency is Being Treated like a Resource at Scale, Where Does Billing Analysis Fit?

In their poster presentation at ACEEE Summer Study 2018, Jes Rivas and Pace Goodman discuss the pros, cons, and possible policy implications for expanding the use of consumption analysis in evaluation.

Jes Rivas Pace Goodman
Diverse Communications for Diverse Customers

In their 2018 EEI workshop, Anne Dougherty and Allison T. Musvosvi share findings from our research on how concepts of energy, home, and community resonate across diverse customer groups.

Anne Dougherty
ENERGY STAR® Retail Products Platform (RPP): Conditions and Considerations in Evaluating Market Transformation Programs and Evaluation Guidance for RPP

In their report for SEE Action, Sara Conzemius and Alex Dunn provide guidance that can be used for estimating energy savings impacts resulting from midstream market transformation programs with specific focus on RPP.

Sara Conzemius Alexandra Dunn
Small Business and Behavioral Energy Efficiency: Dividing Deep into Data to Estimate Statewide Potential

In her BECC 2017 presentation, Eileen Hannigan share an overview of her statewide potential study of the behavioral savings potential—and tactics to reach those savings—with Minnesota small and medium businesses.

Eileen Hannigan
Clearing up the Unclear Savings of Advanced Thermostats in Illinois

In this presentation, Pace Goodman shares how he got agreement on smart thermostat evaluation methods across more than 15 stakeholder groups and created much needed certainty in the Illinois market.

Pace Goodman
Finding Big Potential in Small Businesses: Behavior Change Opportunities and Targeting Approaches from a Statewide Study

Eileen Hannigan’s white paper shares how small businesses, which may have limited capital for large investments, are good candidates for low-cost behavior change conservation.

Eileen Hannigan
Statewide Commercial Behavior Segmentation and Potential Study

What is the behavioral intervention potential in Minnesota small businesses? And how do you get them to engage? Anne Dougherty, Eileen Hannigan, and Shannon Kahl answer those questions in this 2017 report.

Anne Dougherty Eileen Hannigan Shannon Kahl
The Devil’s in the Details: What is the Effect of Methodological Decisions on Estimated Savings?

Why do savings estimates change from one analysis to the next, even when evaluation methods are consistent? Jes Rivas and Pace Goodman attempt to answer this question in this report for IEPEC 2017.

Jes Rivas Pace Goodman
Natural Gas Segmentation Study

Anne Dougherty, Amanda Dwelley, and Shannon Kahl studied the attitudes and behaviors of natural gas consumers in the Pacific Northwest. They explain their findings in their 2017 report for NEEA.

Anne Dougherty Shannon Kahl
Mapping the Customer Journey

In her 2016 BECC presentation, Amanda Dwelley discusses our work journey mapping 11 of Consumers Energy’s residential programs. By identifying and prioritizing improvements, she shares the ways the process optimizes delivery.

Energy Kits: Maximizing the Savings Potential

In this overview by Mallika Jayaraman, she summarizes the potential energy savings of energy kits.

Know Before You Go

Sara Conzemius and Danielle Marquis of SmartWatt describe how up-front investment in market research and segmentation can improve outcomes in small business direct install programs.

Sara Conzemius
Northwest Ductless Heat Pump Initiative: Market Progress Evaluation Report #5

Co-authored by Sara Conzemius and Shannon Kahl. The fifth market progress evaluation of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s (NEEA) Ductless Heat Pump Initiative assesses the Initiative’s progress in meeting its market transformation goals.

Sara Conzemius Shannon Kahl
Matching and VIA: Quasi-Experimental Methods in a World of Imperfect Data

Co-authored by Eileen Hannigan and presented at the 2015 IEPEC conference.

Eileen Hannigan
Northwest Ductless Heat Pump Initiative: Market Progress Evaluation Report #4

Sara Conzemius provides an update on the Ductless Heat Pump Initiative for the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

Sara Conzemius
Locational Emissions Estimation Methodology (LEEM)

Webinar By Anne Dougherty and Wayne State University

Anne Dougherty
Making Research Matter! A Talk at the Northwest Energy Efficiency Exchange

Anne Dougherty speaks on getting clear on your research goals in this video recording from the 2015 Efficiency Exchange conference in Portland.

Anne Dougherty
Today is a Transition

This presentation, Sara Conzemius’ keynote from the AESP 25th National Conference, addresses the industry’s disruption and the changes ahead.

Sara Conzemius
Consumer Message Testing for Ductless Heat Pumps and Heat Pump Water Heaters

Sara Conzemius led this report for NEEA on ductless heat pump message testing.

Sara Conzemius
Future of EM&V

Laura Schauer explores the future of EM&V in her presentation at the 2015 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference.

Laura Schauer
Assessment of Savings and Results for “Kit” Based Energy Efficiency Programming

This white paper by Sara Conzemius and Allison Carlson looks at kit savings and potential.

Sara Conzemius
Potential Savings for Tier 1 Advanced PowerStrips

A white paper by Sara Conzemius exploring the potential savings and programmatic uses of tier 1 advanced powerstrips.

Sara Conzemius
Behavioral Energy Feedback Program Evaluation

Anne Dougherty and Sara Conzemius’ white paper from the 2014 IEPEC conference in Berlin proves the need to go further than just assessing energy impacts of behavioral programs.

Anne Dougherty Sara Conzemius
Integrating Behavior Programs into Portfolio Plans to Integrate Cross-Program Effects

A white paper by Anne Dougherty and Michael Goldman on how we can explore alternative evaluation and planning approaches to diminish or remove disincentive to cross-promote programs.

Anne Dougherty
MyMeter Impact Evaluation

Anne Dougherty and Eileen Hannigan provide an impact evaluation of Accelerated Innovations’ (AI) MyMeter program.

Anne Dougherty
California Statewide Water-Energy Nexus Message

Anne Dougherty’s presentation summarizes results and recommendations from water-energy nexus message testing research she led in California.

Anne Dougherty
Lessons in Water/Energy Messaging

This brief provides findings and key takeaways from consumer message testing on the water/energy nexus in Spanish and Mandarin led by Anne Dougherty.

Anne Dougherty
The Promise and Reality of Behavior Programs

This presentation by Anne Dougherty explores whether behavior program are a reliable resource.

Anne Dougherty
The Carrot and the Evaluator; How financial incentives have affected EM&V practices

Laura Schauer presented on financial incentives and their impact on evaluation practices in the 2013 ACEEE Summer Study.

Laura Schauer
Impacts of Feedback Programs: Generating Comparable Impacts across Varying Program Design Models

Co-authored by Anne Dougherty, this white paper on feedback program was presented at IEPEC in Chicago in 2013.

Anne Dougherty
Some Insights on Matching Methods in Estimating Energy Savings for an Opt-In Behavioral- Based Energy Efficiency Program

This white paper was co-authored by Anne Dougherty and presented at IEPEC in Chicago in 2013. It examines two statistical models to estimate savings in opt-in behavioral programs.

Anne Dougherty