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Cold Hands, Warm Hearth? Climate, Net Takeback, and Household Comfort

Peter M. Schwarz and Thomas N. Taylor

Year: 1995
Volume: Volume16
Number: Number 1
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol16-No1-3
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Abstract:
Insulation reduces marginal heating cost and may lead to a takeback effect of higher wintertime thermostat settings, with a consequent dilution of energy savings. Alternatively, additional insulation could permit a lower thermostat setting by reducing drafts and radiation while increasing moisture retention, thereby enhancing comfort. This paper evaluates thermostat net takeback, the difference between takeback and enhanced comfort. Evidence supports the existence of both effects, with net takeback at the low end of literature estimates. Net thermostat takeback is on the order of 0.05 degrees F, leading to an energy takeback that ranges from 1-3% of potential energy savings, depending on climate and house size. Other significant determinants of thermostat are heating energy price and the presence of elderly or young occupants.



A Microeconomic Framework for Evaluating Energy Efficiency Rebound and Some Implications

Severin Borenstein

Year: 2015
Volume: Volume 36
Number: Number 1
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.1.1
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Abstract:
Improving energy efficiency can lower the cost of using energy-intensive goods and may create wealth from the energy savings, both of which lead to increased energy use, a "rebound" effect. I present a theoretical framework that parses rebound into economic income and substitution effects. The framework leads to new insights about the magnitude of rebound when goods are not priced at marginal cost and when consumers are imperfect optimizers, as well as the role of technological progress in rebound. I then explore the implications of this framework with illustrative calculations for improved auto fuel economy and lighting efficiency. These suggest that rebound is unlikely to more than offset the savings from energy efficiency investments (known as "backfire"), but rebound likely reduces the net savings by roughly 10% to 40% from these energy efficiency improvements.





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