Energy Efficiency Program Typology and Data Metrics: Enabling Multi-State Analyses Through the Use of Common Terminology

Publication Type

Policy Brief

Date Published




In order to compile and analyze information about energy efficiency programs across the country, it is necessary to have a common categorization of program types as well as definitions of the metrics that define program performance and characteristics. As part of an effort to analyze the cost per unit of savings for utility-customer funded energy efficiency programs, LBNL developed a typology of standardized program categories, as well as metrics and associated definitions for program characteristics, costs and impacts. These definitions and naming conventions facilitate meta-analysis of program results and could simplify the analyses and use of such information by a wide range of entities engaged in reporting and assessing the impacts of energy efficiency.

The program categories and definitions described in this policy brief are based primarily on LBNL’s collection and review of several years of annual energy efficiency reports from 108 program administrators in 31 states for approximately 1,900 unique programs. The categories and definitions also were informed by a variety of sources including publications from the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action), the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships’ EM&V Forum, and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Program categories are defined first by seven sectors (including one for demand response programs), then by simplified program categories (27 for efficiency programs) and then into more detailed categories (62 for efficiency). This relatively large number of categories is necessary to cover the range of program types that are prevalent regionally and throughout the country. Having detailed program categories also provides flexibility for grouping programs by a variety of common characteristics for comparison and analysis (e.g., organizing programs by technology versus sector).

The detailed program categories and metric definitions have been adopted by LBNL for its research into the costs of saved energy and by the CEE for its annual industry report surveys. We have also shared this program typology with other researchers and are now publishing them via this policy brief in the hope that other entities may consider their adoption. Our plan is to gather feedback from stakeholders via an annual or biennial process to modify, add or subtract program categories as program offerings change or to address potentially needed clarifications in the definitions and categories.

Year of Publication



Recording of public webinar on April 9, 2014


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