Study Says Energy Measures Don’t Deliver

According to a surprising study published by the University of Chicago, home efficiency measures such as installing new windows or replacing insulation deliver such a small fraction of their promised energy savings that they may not save any money over the long run. The authors say, “The upfront investment costs are about twice the actual energy savings. Further, the model-projected savings are roughly 2.5 times the actual savings. While this might be attributed to the “rebound” effect – when demand for energy end uses increases as a result of greater efficiency – the paper fails to find evidence of significantly higher indoor temperatures at weatherized homes. Even when accounting for the broader societal benefits of energy efficiency investments, the costs still substantially outweigh the benefits; the average rate of return is approximately -9.5% annually.” Furthermore, the study’s results indicate “residential energy efficiency retrofits are unlikely to provide the least expensive carbon reductions.” If the results of the study are upheld by further research, this could curtail efforts by municipal governments to implement mandatory energy efficiency retrofits. The entire paper is available here: do-energy-efficiency-investments-deliver

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