Residential Energy

Photo of energy efficient home


DCOI pioneered a pilot program starting in 2012 to help Duke employees reduce home energy use and increase renewable energy use through education, incentives, and discounts. Beyond this pilot, DCOI supports the Help My House energy efficiency retrofit program for low income mobile home residents in South Carolina. The Help My House program results in unverified emissions reductions that DCOI tracks.

The employee residential energy efficiency pilot reduced energy use, facilitated comfortable indoor temperatures, improved indoor air-quality, and decreased greenhouse gas emissions from 48 participating homes. DCOI co-led a student research team to design and implement the Solarize Duke campaign. Through educational workshops, Solarize Duke assisted employees in receiving residential rooftop solar installations to reduce emissions that result from grid supplied electricity.

Building on the experience gained through these pilot programs, DCOI has charted the path to scalable change by connecting Duke employees and other employers across North Carolina to Home Energy North Carolina (HENC) who continue to present these educational workshops. DCOI also connects Duke employees to resources such as Energy Sage, a service which facilitates competitive bidding from multiple companies to install residential rooftop solar.

House with solar photo


  • Home energy investments lead to lower energy and medical bills, higher property values, and financial savings for the homeowner.
  • DCOI’s initial pilot and Home Energy Affordability Loan pilot (HEAL) reached 48 homes reducing energy consumption by 10-25% for participating households.
  • Solarize Duke resulted in 152 kW of solar capacity being installed across 29 employee homes.
  • Through our residential energy programs, DCOI has access to monthly energy data from over 300 houses and uses this data for research and educational purposes.

Home Energy North Carolina

Photo of Home Energy NC logo
Home Energy NC is a central resource website for information on home energy efficiency and renewable energy in NC. In addition, HENC administers DCOI Energy Efficiency Educational workshop. This workshop was developed building upon the experience gained through our previously implemented energy efficiency pilot programs and is offered to Duke employees as well as other employers throughout North Carolina. Participants of the program benefit from a 3-hour seminar that introduces the basics of how homes use energy, leads employees in strategic planning exercises to create a home energy to-do list, helps employees evaluate their decision-making styles to most effectively accomplish their goals, and provides hands-on opportunities to learn skills that will improve home energy efficiency. Skills training includes how to install simpler efficiency retrofits, how to analyze energy data, how to change energy behaviors, and how to select and work with contractors. All participants receive a Home Energy Efficiency manual to guide them in employing future efficiency projects from their to-do lists.
Photo of Asheville energy efficiency workshop
The DCOI held an interactive energy efficiency workshop hosted by UNC Asheville in January of 2017.


Educational: Provides opportunities for Duke students to learn about residential energy usage, conduct surveys and market research, and develop materials for educational workshops.

Social: Empowers employees to build skills that will benefit them personally and professionally, supports local contractors and community organizations, and helps to build employee-employer relationships.

Environmental: Improves indoor air quality, decreases allergy and asthma symptoms, and reduces trips to the hospital.

Scalable: DCOI’s partnership with HENC will enable the energy efficiency workshop to reach a statewide audience, offered by employers to their employees.

Project Partners: UNC Environmental Finance Center, Clinton Climate Initiative, ResiSpeak, Duke Energy, NC State Cooperative Extension, Duke Credit Union, The Duke Endowment, Advanced Energy, Bass Connections in Energy, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, UNC’s Environmental Finance Center, NextClimate, Yes! Solar Solutions, and Southern Energy Management

Photo of Solarize Duke team
In the spring of 2015, the Bass Connections team hosted 4 workshops on residential solar, which were attended by hundreds of Duke staff and faculty.


Energy Efficiency

Residential Energy Efficiency Protocol (DCOI)

Designing an Effective Employee Energy Efficiency Program: A Review of DCOI's Energy Efficiency Pilot Programs

Home Energy NC Website


Bass Connections report: Shifting Landscape of Residential Solar (2015)

Bass Connections report: Basic Solar Rooftop Economics in North Carolina (2015)