How to Integrate ICP Protocols Into Public Policy and Programs
The Investor Confidence Project (ICP) can help accelerate a range of public programs focused on encouraging investment in energy efficiency. ICP can make energy efficiency programs more effective by standardizing technical requirements to a national set of protocols that align with industry best practices, software tools, and a growing number of programs. There is flexibility in how to engage ICP Protocols, enumerated below, that enable this national approach to integrate with a wide array of State, Local, and Utility efforts to spur investment in energy efficiency.
The ICP Protocols provide ready-made best practices based on practical input from industry and existing technical standards. By standardizing how projects are developed and savings estimates are calculated, programs can reduce transaction costs of participants while increasing confidence in projected savings in order to encourage program adoption.
ICP Protocols provide a number of important benefits for programs including:
Market tested technical protocols, developed, maintained, and available
National standardization reducing costs to industry, investors, and software providers
Network of ICP Allies including ESCOs, finance, insurance, and software vendors
Best practices to ensure building owners and investors are fully informed
Working with ICP will help attract investors to your community and make it easier for local building owners and project developers to get projects built. The ICP team will work with each program to connect local companies, building owners, and deal flow to local investors. Our national network of Allies provides a range of options from energy service agreements, debt and equity financing, insurance products, and software options.
Adopting ICP saves each program from the expensive and time consuming process of creating and maintaining a unique set of technical project requirements. A process that is not only costly, but will also results in a patchwork of programs and projects that increase transaction costs for project developers, building owners and investors alike.
ICP Protocols can overlay just about any type of program from PACE financing and OBR, to Building Benchmarking and outreach programs such as Architecture 2030 and Better Building Challenge. ICP is applied at the point that a building owner is ready to move forward with a project. It creates a roadmap once demand has been generated, to deliver investor ready projects to a market of investors who can help get projects built, and leaves plenty of room for local innovation.
There are currently a range of programs in the marketplace, and depending on each program’s design, ICP can be applied in different ways.
1) Resource and Incentive Programs (Cost Effectiveness, SIR, or Bill Neutrality Requirements) If a program requires a degree of cost effectiveness in order for projects to be eligible, then we strongly recommend adopting the ICP Protocols as your standard method for technical project development and measurement of savings. Having such a system in place is necessary in order to comply with this type of program requirement. This is typical for State or Utility funded programs that have a statutory requirement to spend public dollars “wisely” based on the public good associated with energy efficiency.
ICP Protocols layout a set of well vetted engineering steps and standards that makes compliance straight forward, consistent across markets, and will reduce transaction costs by standardizing the projects documentation package and quality review process.
2) Market Transformation Programs For programs that are meant to encourage participation in energy efficiency, use private capital sources or other methods, and do not require specific levels of cost effectiveness, SIR, or bill neutrality, we suggest adopting ICP as a “recommended best practice” rather than a requirement.
By including the ICP Protocols on a program's website and communications, and through education and market outreach, a program will further the goal of a quality industry that can reliably deliver energy efficiency, help establish a marketplace with lower transaction costs, and protect building owners by ensuring they are aware of industry best practices and go into transactions with full disclosure.
Recommending ICP is an easy first step. It enables the ICP team to work with each program, developing an engagement plan that will encourage adoption of best practices by rewarding projects with access to a range of investment options and capital sources. However, it will still allow building owners to make their own investment choices based on a more complete understanding of the market.
3) Programs with Existing Technical Standards There are many great programs out there with technical standards already in place. We understand the need to maintain consistency in existing programs, but would encourage potentially piloting ICP in parallel with comparable existing standards as a way to test the waters without creating uncertainty. We invite every program to engage without Technical Forms to gain a working knowledge of the ICP Protocols and process. As we leverage existing standards and best practices, we often find that there are more parallels than differences and we have an ongoing process that encourages feedback and iteration.
Ultimately, we think there is great utility in standardization across programs, however we are happy to work with every program to develop strategies based on program and market realities. As a simple first step please consider becoming an ICP Ally to join the conversation.
Help ICP Enable a National Market For Energy Efficiency Investment It’s easy to become part of our growing network for programs who have elected to join forces and align standards through ICP. The ICP team is happy to discuss what application of ICP makes most sense for your program and work to develop a go-to-market strategy customized for the unique realities of every program and location.
Once the ICP Protocols are adopted either as program requirements, or a recommended approach, we will work with you and your local stakeholders to encourage interaction between origination channels, building owners, project developers, and investors.
Please contact the ICP Team to discuss how we can help align your program with emerging national standards, a growing network of investors, and an ever expanding group of public programs.