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From EFI’s About Page:
EFI was incorporated May 25th, 1982 by six non-profit energy organizations with the purposes of helping those member groups and other organizations economically purchase quality conservation products and assisting the public in using energy resources efficiently. EFI’s office was in downtown Framingham, Massachusetts, shared with the social service agency South Middlesex Opportunity Council. Inventory was stored in a small basement room. Initial customers consisted of EFI’s member groups and low-income weatherization programs primarily funded with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization Program Assistance (WAP) dollars. Bradley Steele, the Executive Director of People’s Energy Resource Cooperative (PERC), one of the member organizations, was appointed President. In 1983 EFI organized its first successful coordinated bid for a state-funded weatherization program involving its six member organizations and another fifteen community action agencies, and EFI hired its first part-time employee, Janice Scoppa, in 1984.
In 1985 some of EFI’s member organizations collaborated and won a bid to operate a Department of Energy (DOE) approved Residential Conservation Service (RCS) energy audit program for Boston Edison. The audit program was unique in that it was the first RCS program in the country to include the direct installation of products in people’s homes during the audit, and to provide contractor arranging for customers wishing to undertake major measures. In 1986 EFI designed a mail order materials program service for the households that received one of these Boston Edison energy audits. The success of this mail order materials program led to it being mandated by the Massachusetts State Energy Office for all RCS audit programs in Massachusetts, and in 1988 EFI designed the first residential lighting mail order catalog program in the country, promoting compact fluorescent light bulbs and fixtures.
From 1988 to 1990 Bradley Steele and other members of EFI’s Board of Directors were involved in regulatory proceedings that led to the adoption of least cost planning, or integrated resource management (IRM), for electric utilities in New England. This process, labeled the Collaborative Approach, and the program design that came out of it, became the model for many demand-side management (DSM) programs that have been implemented across the United States.
EFI has since grown to become one of the leading promoters of residential energy efficiency-related products in the United States, distributing products directly through our Consumer and Wholesale Divisions, and administrating high-quality utility-sponsored rebate programs through our Incentive Processing Division.