Residential energy efficiency improvements twice the cost of benefits

in environment on (#HVRJ)
Energy efficiency investments are widely popular because they are believed to deliver a double win: saving consumers money by reducing the amount of energy they use, while cutting climate-forcing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants harmful to human health. But a new study by a team of economists finds residential energy efficiency investments may not deliver on all that they promise. Through a randomized controlled trial of more than 30,000 households in Michigan - where one-quarter of the households were encouraged to make residential energy efficiency investments and received assistance - the economists find that the costs to deploy the efficiency upgrades were about double the energy savings.

While the researchers found that the upgrades did reduce the households' energy consumption by about 10 to 20 percent each month that only translated into $2,400 in savings over the lifetime of the upgrades - half of what was originally spent to make the upgrades, and less than half of projected energy savings. "In actuality, the energy efficiency investments we evaluated delivered significantly lower savings than the models predict." Further, some say that the broader societal benefits - savings as a result of reductions in pollution from energy production- justify the investments. But the findings did not support this. The cost per ton of CO2 avoided in the sample amounted to $329, significantly larger than the $38 per ton that the federal government estimates as the social cost of carbon.

Re: What about if the cost is free? (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2015-08-21 14:56 (#J2D6)

He's not talking about money, but energy. Probably meaning the amount of C02 given off by the expense of the energy. The study was focused on cost, which is a good thing to keep an eye on for sure. But if anther goal is C02 reduction, then for some people with enough disposable income and that care enough about such things then the amount of C02 released is also important potentially more so.

I can't tell you how freaking annoying it is to get an appliance installed and have to fight for a more efficient device, even if its at higher cost. I was debating getting a new water heater, and the installer told me to do it now while they still sold the old cheaper less efficient models, in a few months they'd only sell the high efficiency ones. He was kind of shocked when I told him to call me when they had the high efficiency ones. I probably won't save the amount of extra money it costs, but its not a significant amount of money to me at this point and its the right thing to do.
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