November 2015 marked the final month for an innovative pilot conducted by MEEA in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory, AEP Ohio, Dayton Power and Light (DP&L), several Ohio commercial product distributors and other groups. The six-month pilot was designed to test a novel incentive program model aimed at distributors of v-belts, a common piece of equipment used in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) applications. Cogged v-belts (also known as notched v-belts) are about three percent more efficient at power transmission than smooth v-belts and are commonly recommended to replace smooth v-belts in industrial and commercial energy audits.
New Opportunities for V-Belts
While the energy efficiency properties of cogged v-belts are widely accepted and documented, smooth v-belts still persist in practice. Moreover, few utility or government efficiency programs target v-belts for efficiency savings. This reflects a broader trend with so-called “midstream” programs, with which utilities have found success promoting efficient lighting products and some retail appliances.
Overall, however, due to a number of challenges with attribution and administration, midstream programs have been limited to a handful of efficient products. One of the goals of this pilot was to test a novel midstream approach with a nontraditional product and discover best practices for utilities seeking to expand their midstream incentive offerings.
Working with distributors in Ohio, AEP Ohio and DP&L partnered to offer incentive payments directly to distributors who sold more cogged v-belts than they had during similar times in the past. Incentives were also made available to support training on v-belt energy use and proper installation techniques.
As the pilot just ended, the results are still coming in and MEEA cannot comment extensively on the efficacy of the pilot strategy yet. However, early feedback from distributors has been positive and MEEA is confident valuable lessons can be extrapolated from the program.
Want to Know More?
More information about the pilot process and incentive design can be found in a white paper presented at the 2015 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry, titled A Midstream Cogged V-Belt Pilot Program: Concept and Early Challenges.
For more information about this pilot, please contact Mark Milby at firstname.lastname@example.org.