Minnesota’s small commercial sector: a characterization study

In this work, Seventhwave conducted primary and secondary research on the small commercial sector in Minnesota. The objective of this research is to provide insights on energy use and attitudes toward energy and to inform energy efficiency program designs that address barriers to participation.

Beyond lighting program strategies

The small commercial sector is historically difficult to reach due to its dispersed nature and other market barriers; those energy efficiency programs that do target this sector have long been dominated by lighting-only retrofit programs. New, more holistic programs that address the barriers facing small commercial customers are needed to serve this market and contribute to achieving Minnesota’s 1.5 percent savings goal.

Building size and business size
To help surpass these barriers, Seventhwave characterized this hard-to-reach market, focusing especially on more comprehensive opportunities that go beyond lighting retrofit. We found that this sector is indeed dispersed and diverse, but that there are holistic savings opportunities if utilities can target their efforts at appropriately fruitful customers, end uses, and building types. As a result, we identified a number of promising program strategies for targeting both customer types and energy use types.

Where do we see energy savings?
We calculated the weighted technical potential for 100 measures for four business types.