In 2018, E Source performed a comprehensive review of the midstream and upstream demand-side management (DSM) market.
E Source E NewsHVAC, lighting, and water heater programs are just some of the programs gaining traction in the mid- and upstream demand-side management market.
October 16, 2019

What Measures Are Moving Up the Stream?

In 2018, E Source performed a comprehensive review of the midstream and upstream demand-side management (DSM) market. This study identified 93 midstream and upstream DSM programs administered by 69 organizations in North America. Our report Sending Your DSM Measures Upstream: Popular Measures and Best Practices for Midstream and Upstream Programs explores the new measures that program administrators are moving up the stream. This is the first report in a series of midstream program reports; other reports in the series will include information on:

  • How utilities are overcoming the common barriers to evaluating midstream programs
  • What incentive structures utilities are using in midstream programs
  • How midstream program performance compares to downstream program performance

Defining the streams

Midstream: Programs that pay incentives to distributors or retailers who sell directly to end users.

Upstream: Programs that pay incentives to manufacturers or distributors who don’t sell directly to end users.

Popular measures for midstream programs

In our 2018 industry review, we found that HVAC programs surpassed lighting programs as the most common measure type to move up the stream. Beyond lighting and HVAC, there are several other program types that have gained traction in the mid- and upstream DSM market, including commercial kitchen equipment programs, retail product programs, and water heater programs.

Bar chart showing number of midstream and upstream programs containing a particular measure; base is 69 program administrators and copyright E Source. Lighting is included in 23 midstream programs and 2 upstream programs; retail products are included in 15 midstream and 0 upstream programs; Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning is included in 12 midstream and 14 upstream programs; commercial kitchen equipment is included in 10 midstream and 0 upstream programs; water heaters are included in 8 midstream and 1 upstream programs; appliances are included in 3 midstream and 1 upstream programs; showerheads are included in 1 midstream and 0 upstream programs; pool pumps are included in 1 midstream and 0 upstream programs; variable-frequency drives are included in 0 midstream and 1 upstream programs; consumer electronics are included in 0 midstream and 1 upstream programs.

Key takeaways

Target emergency replacement scenarios. Businesses often rely on their equipment working day in and day out, seven days a week. When something like a fryer or AC unit breaks down, it’s imperative they find a replacement as soon as possible, meaning they’ll often take whatever is readily available. This should incentivize utilities, distributors, and contractors to install high-efficiency equipment.

Leverage established supply chain relationships. Contractors look to the manufacturers and distributors for product and installation information. Use these relationships to train contractors and sales staff on how to sell and install high-efficiency measures.

Investigate underperforming downstream programs. If you offer an incentive for a measure that isn’t in stock in your service territory, consider moving that measure up the stream. The goal of mid- and upstream programs is to influence the stocking and upselling practices of your supply chain which can result in considerable kilowatt-hour savings. These programs can help you ensure that incentivized measures are available and that market actors are upselling these measures to your customers.

Interested in more?

For additional insights into midstream program design and delivery, details on what measures are moving up the stream, and best practices for midstream programs, read our publicly available report Sending Your DSM Measures Upstream: Popular Measures and Best Practices for Midstream and Upstream Programs. If you’d like to learn more about how to get access to individual reports in the upcoming series, contact us.

About the author

BRYSEN DAUGHTON

Analyst

Brysen Daughton researches emerging technologies and utility programs on the Customer Energy Solutions team. Brysen started as an intern at E Source, forecasting clean energy technology and researching best-in-class demand-side management programs. Brysen has two degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder: a master’s degree in renewable and sustainable energy and an undergraduate degree in ecology and evolutionary biology.

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Contributing Authors

Analyst, Customer Energy Solutions

Brysen Daughton researches emerging technologies and utility programs on the Customer Energy Solutions team. Brysen started as an intern at E...