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How Utilities Can Initiate, Facilitate, and Deliver Successful Small Business Energy Efficiency Solutions

Implementing effective small business energy efficiency programs can be a challenge for some utilities. It can be difficult to develop the resources in-house needed to educate small business owners on energy efficiency and help them make the changes needed to effectively reduce energy consumption.

Lime Energy provides the keys to reaching this segment of the marketplace. They lie in our ability to help our utility clients effectively visualize a solution, optimize project implementation and realize energy efficiency savings. 

Let’s take a deeper look at this Visualize, Optimize, Realize model. 


The Visualize stage of our integrated model includes activities during program design and implementation that help the utility to see inside the market of their small business customers so they can design and administer a program that is streamlined, effective and appealing to small business owners. 

The utility needs a program that will deliver comprehensive energy solutions to their hard-to-reach small business owners. In order to be comprehensive, the program must begin by engaging small business owners and delivering results from implementation to evaluation, measurement and verification (EM&V).

Engaging small business owners begins with understanding their needs. Since the small business segment of the market is not as large as the residential segment, and their individual energy consumption is not as large as commercial and industrial (C&I) customers, it can be difficult for utilities and large administrators to properly design a program to engage and cost-effectively serve these customers as well. 

At Lime Energy, we’ve gained an understanding of this unique market through the experience gleaned over millions of customer touches and tens of thousands of completed projects. Combined with our proprietary market segmentation data analysis, we are able to develop consistent messaging that’s in the small business owners’ language and helps drive higher participation rates. 


The ‘Optimize’ stage of the service model includes assessing a small business’ potential energy efficiency savings and implementing a custom project that helps them realize those savings. 

Small business customers of the utility should get a free energy assessment performed by an educated and enthusiastic energy advisor. These locally-based, and highly trained advisors can offer the small business owner a suite of energy efficiency measures, specifically customized to the program design, integrated and delivered through a local ally force of partners. 

These experienced and organized construction teams can then implement the measures, delivering real energy savings to both the small business and the utility. 


The realization stage of this energy efficiency services model is how the utility can continue to drive value and customer satisfaction through reduced energy expenditures.

While energy savings are being realized, energy monitoring software and data collection enables recommendations for new behavioral efficiency initiatives. Utilities are able to deepen relationships with small business customers by understanding what drives them to take action and engaging them, while simultaneously improving program performance. 

Developing and nurturing these relationships will improve utility JD Power customer satisfaction scores while providing further opportunities for energy reduction by driving future participation behaviorally through ongoing marketing and engagement programs. 

Lime Energy’s vertically Integrated Service Model (ISM)

The role of the utility is rapidly changing. Our vertically integrated service model delivers an effective, risk-mitigated, pay-for-performance way to reach your small business customers. It can solve the education problem by providing local energy professionals to educate, communicate, and deliver energy efficient solutions to your small business community.

Lime Energy’s ISM also removes the coordination burden by providing a network of qualified contractors, as well as using a logistical supply chain capable of delivering materials on a national level. We help the utility and it’s customers see a return on investment, bridging the small business market gap. Our ISM model creates a win-win scenario for utility companies and small businesses. Contact us today to learn more. 

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