Q&A WITH Eric Engelman: Introducing the New Cost-Effectiveness Explorer
Eric Engelman has a master's degree in public policy from University of California-San Diego. After working as a development economist internationally, he returned to San Diego to specialize in local government energy policy. Over the last decade, Eric served as Senior Energy Policy Adviser to the City of San Diego and consulted with local governments to help them accelerate energy policy adoption. Building software to simplify data-driven energy policy making is a dream come true.
Q: Tell us a little about this new tool, Eric.
A: First of all, we have these incredible resources in the cost-effectiveness studies. There are more published studies today than at any time over the past 10 years. This wealth of riches still presents a challenge to local government staff, though, who often have too many responsibilities and too little time to mine these resources for good policy recommendations.
The Explorer mines the studies and presents findings most relevant for each user in a straightforward, accessible way.
Q: How does the Explorer work?
A: A user inputs their city or county and selects the cost effectiveness studies whose results they’d like to view. For example, a planner in San Bernardino County might be asked by the County Supervisors to recommend some options for reducing emissions from buildings. They can use the tool to instantly identify the County’s climate zones (8, 9, 10, 14, 15 and 16) as well as begin to assess what cost-effective options are available for existing residential, new residential, and new nonresidential buildings.
All the findings from three separate studies will appear in a single view, that includes the cost-effective measures and packages, with their incremental cost, annual bill savings, benefit to cost ratios, and annual emissions savings per building.
It’s easy to share specific results with colleagues, either by exporting to a customized pdf or sharing a link.
Q: Do users need to have a lot of technical expertise to understand the data?
A: There is a lot of embedded assistance for all levels of expertise. We designed the tool to encourage learning. Any unfamiliar terms or items can be clicked to access a simple definition and additional background information. There’s also a quick guide to explain cost-effectiveness and why it matters, as well as a tutorial on how to use the Explorer.
Q: What’s in the future for the Explorer?
A: We are adding functionality over the coming months, going beyond results on per building basis to forecasting the potential impact of a reach code city-wide or county-wide. We are also adding support for additional statewide cost-effectiveness studies. And users will be able to customize measure combinations of existing building measures for each vintage and climate zone. Beyond that, we are working to provide the ability to compare potential policies and their impacts in a menu-like interface so jurisdictions can better weigh trade-offs in their policy decisions.
Visit the Cost Effectiveness Explorer today!