The Solution Summit for Georgia Power’s New Homes Program
Georgia Power is an electric utility headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2013, it noticed that even though it offered programs and conducted outreach, it was having difficulty persuading builders to construct homes to higher efficiency standards. The utility recognized that its educational offerings were specific to a small part of the new construction market, and wondered if it needed to connect with more people and organizations. For true market transformation, Georgia Power realized that it had to influence other stakeholders, including real estate professionals, appraisers, multiple listing service groups, home builders associations and lenders.
We worked with Georgia Power to form a question around the problem: “What can we do to promote energy efficient homes in Georgia Power territory?” To answer this question, we planned a solution summit that brought together stakeholders to discuss the issue. We called individuals from a mix of professions to explain the purpose of the summit and invited them to attend. We ended up with a group of stakeholders that represented the new construction market as a whole.
The solution summit was designed to encourage ownership and alignment among attendees. It focused on three areas: education, collaboration and communication. Georgia Power aimed to 1) educate stakeholders on high performance homes and their importance in increasing energy efficient home construction, 2) encourage collaboration and identify champions who would advocate for the goal, and 3) communicate how to promote and sell energy efficient homes through proper documentation.
As a group, the attendees recognized the need for homeowners to understand high performance homes to increase demand. This conclusion led to suggestions for Georgia Power to create materials to help educate homeowners about their energy efficient choices.
Through the solution summit approach, Georgia Power moved away from trying to influence the marketplace alone and asked stakeholders for their ideas, receiving ownership and alignment around their activities. Georgia Power is a prime example of a utility focusing on increasing high performance homes. Since the solution summit in 2013, two additional summits have been held, and steps have been taken to educate homeowners, appraisers, real estate professionals and builders. These trainings and campaigns would not have been possible without the assistance of the solution summit attendees, proving that collaboration produces results.