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Upgrading Efficiency and Behavior: Electricity Savings from Residential Weatherization Programs

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Abstract:
Residential weatherization programs have become a major component of U.S. energy policy. Through these programs, households receive heavily subsidized energy efficiency upgrades as well as informational and behavioral treatments designed to encourage conservation. While previous work demonstrates that weatherization programs provide sizable energy savings, all have measured the composite effect of efficiency upgrades and behavioral treatments. In this paper, we present the first estimates which disentangle the energy savings provided by each of the individual interventions. Our results reveal that the actual energy savings achieved by the efficiency upgrades are substantially smaller than ex-ante, engineering predictions. Moreover, we present evidence that the energy savings provided by the simple behavioral interventions can exceed the savings resulting from the much more costly efficiency upgrades. Keywords: Energy efficiency, Weatherization, Electricity demand

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Energy Specializations: Energy Efficiency – Barriers to Adoption; Energy Efficiency – Residential and Commercial Buildings; Energy and the Environment – Policy and Regulation; Electricity – Generation Technologies; Electricity – Markets and Prices ; Natural Gas – Policy and Regulation

JEL Codes:
Q59 - Environmental Economics: Other
E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General
Q2 -
D42 - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design: Monopoly

Keywords: Energy efficiency, Weatherization, Electricity demand

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.37.4.jziv

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Published in Volume 37, Number 4 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.