The Most Confusing Incentives IMHO #2

The Most Confusing Incentives IMHO #2

by Emmy Riley

This is the second in a series of three posts about incentives that I think are confusing. You can find the first post here.

April 12, 2017

Comprehensive Energy Savings Incentive

What does this incentivize?

At its core, the Comprehensive Energy Savings incentive gives you a bonus for completing more than one efficiency project at a time in your building.

What doesn’t this incentivize?

It doesn’t offer a bonus for doing just any three, four, or five projects at once. The projects must be selected from a list that has been curated by ComEd.

Anything else I should know?

Typically you have to complete efficiency projects by the end of the program year in which you applied (program years end on May 31st each year). This incentive, however, gives you two years to complete projects. You don’t get the bonus incentive until after all the measures are implemented.

So why is this incentive complicated?

Two reasons: Tiers and Options. Like the EMS upgrade incentive, the more “Options” you implement, the more money you receive. ComEd has a nice infographic explaining the tiers.

Comprehensive Energy Savings Tiers

The other part of this incentive that I think is even more confusing are the Options.

There are five different categories of Options: Lighting, HVAC, Refrigeration, Compressed Air, and Other Energy Efficient Equipment. Different categories have different amounts of measures you must implement to receive credit for an Option. Here are five reasons I think the Options are confusing:

  • More work – All of the Options point to other standard incentives that are found on separate worksheets. This means that you’ll have to fill out at least three other incentive applications in addition to this one. That’s a lot of documentation!
  • Vague wording – A few measures leave room for interpretation in their wording. For example, among other things, the Lighting System measure requires that the lighting system must achieve 50% watt reduction from baseline (combination of program eligible fixtures and controls). What portion of that 50% watt reduction can come from controls vs. reduced fixture wattages? There may be some back-and-forth with ComEd about this if you select this Option.Lighting Incentive
  • Nested Requirements – Some Options can be achieved with just one action item; for example, the Chiller measure requires a New or replacement water- or air-cooled chiller.Chiller IncentiveOther Options, however, require multiple action items. The Retrofit Display Case measure, for example, has three requirements: Retrofit cases must include LEDs, ECMs and eligible controls, Open cases must be fitted with night covers, and closed cases must be fitted with upgraded doors.Retrofit Display Case IncentiveStill other Options require you to choose 2 measures from a list of 4, or to choose 3 measures from a list of 12.Choose Two Incentive
  • Overlapping measures – Some Options have overlapping measures. For example, the EMS incentive (discussed in the previous post) can earn you one Option credit as long as you’ve implemented six control strategies. But be careful! The Other Energy Efficiency Equipment category includes measures like Air-side economizer, Chilled water reset controls, and Demand controlled ventilation. All three of these measures are controls-based and could also fall into EMS Incentive territory. You can’t double dip, so if you’ve used those three measures on your EMS incentive application, you would need to choose three non-controls-related measures from the Other Energy Efficiency Equipment category.Other Measures Incentive
  • Caveats – If you implemented a measure last year, ComEd will actually let you count several specific measures toward your three-to-five credit goal this year. However, the bonus you receive at the end of implementation will not include the incentive you received for last year’s measure. That could look like this:Visio-Bonus Incentive Chart

What’s the bottom line?

Put simply, this measure is challenging to navigate, but it’s not impossible. If your building is a good candidate for implementing three to five measures on the Comprehensive Energy Savings Worksheet, you could get a pretty tidy sum in bonus incentives money—up to 30% more than you would have gotten if you implemented the measures individually.

Who would this incentive be if it were a figure skater?


Karen Chen. It leverages a bonus to earn maximum points.

Where does the worksheet for this incentive live?

Click here!


Coming up next time — Packaged Rooftop Unit Advanced Controls Retrofit!