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Are There Realistic Possibilities for a Higher "Batting" Average? On Improving Residential Energy Efficiency in Canada

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  • David L. Ryan
  • Junaid Bin Jahangir

Abstract

The main use of energy in the residential sector in Canada is for space heating. Reductions in residential energy use, therefore, are likely to be achieved primarily through energy-saving retrofits, such as improved insulation. Reasons advanced to explain the foot-dragging of the residential sector in this regard are examined here, along with various policy options. Canadian survey data from 2003 are used to examine and compare the most energy-inefficient households who saw no need for retrofits with other households who provided a similar response, with a view to assessing whether there are factors that can be exploited to increase the uptake of such retrofits. The results suggest there is likely to be no quick fix. In the absence of large retrofit subsidies, with their accompanying free-rider problem, or a multi-pronged strategy that includes a whole array of policy instruments, including one that changes the relative importance of energy costs in household budgets, the outlook for sizeable improvements in residential energy efficiency in Canada via residential retrofits does not appear to be overly promising.

Suggested Citation

  • David L. Ryan & Junaid Bin Jahangir, 2013. "Are There Realistic Possibilities for a Higher "Batting" Average? On Improving Residential Energy Efficiency in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 39(s2), pages 125-142, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:39:y:2013:i:s2:p:125-142
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sorrell, Steve & Dimitropoulos, John, 2008. "The rebound effect: Microeconomic definitions, limitations and extensions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 636-649, April.
    2. Hunt Allcott & Michael Greenstone, 2012. "Is There an Energy Efficiency Gap?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 3-28, Winter.
    3. Amstalden, Roger W. & Kost, Michael & Nathani, Carsten & Imboden, Dieter M., 2007. "Economic potential of energy-efficient retrofitting in the Swiss residential building sector: The effects of policy instruments and energy price expectations," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 1819-1829, March.
    4. Steg, Linda, 2008. "Promoting household energy conservation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 4449-4453, December.
    5. Young, Denise, 2008. "Who pays for the `beer fridge' Evidence from Canada," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 553-560, February.
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