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Our experienced staff is in the forefront in developing and evaluating energy efficiency programs and technologies. Whether evaluating a new product, developing software tools or helping design a utility incentive program – we have the resources and institutional knowledge to take the lead. Check out our Program Evaluation and Technology Evaluation projects, as well as past projects.

Current Projects

Program Evaluation

The WSU Extension Energy Program evaluates energy efficiency initiatives to provide funders with performance data and managers with feedback to improve their programs.

  • Community Energy Efficiency Pilot Program. With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's State Energy Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we administer pilot projects aimed at improving energy efficiency in neighborhoods and business districts in six Washington State communities. Extension Energy Program staff will evaluate the projects to determine which methods are most effective.
  • Low-Income Weatherization Program. Our staff evaluates statewide weatherization programs administered by 26 local community agencies that receive federal, state and utility funding through the Washington State Department of Commerce. We help the Department of Commerce build better data collection systems to assess program performance and improve management and operations.
  • Seattle Community Power Works Project. We serve as a technical consultant for this new project designed to save energy in Seattle homes, businesses and hospitals. Still under development, the project will use U.S. Department of Energy dollars to leverage additional funding for maximum impact. Extension Energy Program staff will monitor and verify results.
  • Other Program Evaluations. Working as members of a team, our staff helps assess the performance of three large energy efficiency initiatives: the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s New Construction Program, the Energy Trust of Oregon’s Path to Net Zero Pilot and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council’s BetterBricks.

Technology Evaluation

The WSU Extension Energy Program tracks emerging technologies and innovative applications of familiar efficiency strategies. Technology assessments typically involve literature reviews, science and engineering analysis, and interviews. We also conduct hands-on field and laboratory assessments and analyze performance data.

  • Energy Efficiency Emerging Technologies Program (E3T). We are implementing a multi-staged process to identify, analyze and demonstrate emerging energy efficiency technologies for adoption by Northwest utility conservation programs for the Bonneville Power Administration's E3T initiative. This includes organizing technical advisory groups of regional and national experts for lighting and HVAC; developing an online database of emerging technologies; participating in development of a Northwest regional roadmap for emerging technologies; and field assessment of technologies, including design of an outdoor street lighting test facility.
  • Natural Exposure Test Facility. We partner with the WSU Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory to operate a Puyallup facility for conducting wall system moisture and thermal-performance research. One of only a handful of such facilities in North America, the facility is designed for monitoring wall systems exposed to natural weather conditions, with on-site data logging and remote data-collection systems. A 2006 project report demonstrates the viability of numerous building assemblies.
  • Residential Efficiency. The U.S. Department of Energy’s main research and development effort in the residential sector is the Building America Program. As key members of two national Building America teams, Energy Extension Program staff members produce two to four peer-reviewed research papers annually on emerging efficiency strategies.

Past Projects

Behavior Research

WSU researchers, including the Extension Energy Program’s Rick Kunkle, and colleagues in California studied how decisions that affect energy efficiency are made in the process of designing and constructing new office buildings. A similar research team looked at how residents responded to impending brownouts and blackout during the 2001 California energy crisis. Their findings - that people voluntarily reduced energy use at peak times - helped convince various stakeholders of the importance of incorporating behavioral tools into their energy-efficiency plans.

Building Performance Rating Project

This market transformation pilot project created a rating system for scoring the actual performance of commercial buildings. Six buildings were recruited and used to obtain input from the building owner/manager, occupants, and O&M service providers and to field test the proposed rating system tools. The 2008 final report includes score cards developed and tested by the project.

Motor Efficiency

We were involved in researching the deterioration of motor efficiency and reliability in industrial settings for the U.S. Department of Energy. Extension Energy Program staff has also been involved in testing motor efficiency and motor voltage controllers in labs and industrial settings for the Northwest Power Planning Council.

NICE3

For the U.S. Department of Energy, the WSU Extension Energy Program administered and provided technical oversight for innovative and emerging technologies as part of the National Industrial Competitiveness through Energy, Environment, and Economics (NICE3) program. Technologies included a new energy-efficient blanching system and an industrial magnetic adjustable speed motor drive.

Post-Occupancy Evaluations

Working with the Washington State Department of General Administration, WSU Extension Energy Program staff designed and piloted guidelines for evaluating various aspects of building performance. The project was in response to the state legislature’s mandate that government facilities meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards.

Product and Technology Reviews

With support of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, we assessed energy savings claims for new products and technologies. Resulting reports were distributed to Northwest utilities.

Regional Planning – Identifying Emerging Technologies

In support of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Sixth Power Plan, we identified new and emerging products, services and strategies that could save electrical energy in the Northwest over the next 10 years.

Technology Profiles for Federal Facilities

For the Pacific Northwest National Lab, we developed profiles for 40 innovative technologies from the industrial, commercial and residential sectors for use by the Federal Energy Management Program.


Infrared technology can be used to identify building heat losses.