Building Customer Trust
Mike Mernick is a senior vice president with ICF, where he leads market development and strategic partnerships in commercial energy. He serves on the board of the Association of Energy Services Professionals. Mernick led the energy efficiency division and ICF’s support to government and utility DSM clients for over a decade. He has presented to audiences in the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Turkey, and supported clients in Brazil, China and India on successful program design and implementation strategies.
I worked on my first demand-side management program in 1987. It was a residential energy efficiency direct install and auditing program, not that different from some of the programs we are seeing today.
At that time, it was a very early program design. Our clients were not certain how the program would perform, whether it would be cost effective, or even if the customers would be willing to participate.
While we still face those same performance challenges today, what has changed is the range of available DSM expertise, the depth of industry knowledge and experience, and a much higher level of demonstrated confidence in energy efficiency's return on investment. Today, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy reports that about eight billion dollars will be invested in efficiency in 2018. As an industry, we've come a long way.
We have heard the term, "cathedral thinking," used from time to time to describe the early vision and the ongoing care and commitment needed to build a structural masterpiece, and how some of the architects and craftsmen involved in laying the foundation might not be there when the finishing touches are fully completed.