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Use of ecological footprinting to explore alternative domestic energy and electricity policy scenarios in an Irish city-region


  • Browne, David
  • O'Regan, Bernadette
  • Moles, Richard


The purpose of this paper is to measure the ecological footprint (EF) of energy and electricity consumption by the residents of an Irish city-region, in terms of the land area required to sequester carbon emissions from energy and electricity consumption and to support energy infrastructure and development. The EF was also used to analyse the impact of potential scenarios and policies and results were compared with the business as usual (BAU) projection in order to identify the optimal policy measure. It was found that the total EF for domestic energy and electricity consumption by Limerick residents increased by 7% from 0.125 global hectares (gha) per capita in 1996 to 0.134Â gha per capita in 2002. The EF was then used to assess different policy measures or scenarios. It was concluded that Scenario 2, which proposes reducing energy and electricity consumption, was the most preferable option, and Scenario 4, which proposes increasing the contribution of short rotation coppice (SRC), the least preferable option. This suggests that absolute reduction and demand management should be prioritised over renewables substitution in a policy hierarchy. Of the renewable energy scenarios, Scenario 4 has the highest EF as a result of land appropriation for biomass production.

Suggested Citation

  • Browne, David & O'Regan, Bernadette & Moles, Richard, 2009. "Use of ecological footprinting to explore alternative domestic energy and electricity policy scenarios in an Irish city-region," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2205-2213, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:6:p:2205-2213

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. David Browne & Bernadette O'Regan & Richard Moles, 2008. "Use of embodied energy and ecological footprinting to assess the global environmental impact of consumption in an Irish city-region," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(3), pages 447-470.
    4. Kok, Rixt & Benders, Rene M.J. & Moll, Henri C., 2006. "Measuring the environmental load of household consumption using some methods based on input-output energy analysis: A comparison of methods and a discussion of results," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(17), pages 2744-2761, November.
    5. Carlsson-Kanyama, Annika & Ekstrom, Marianne Pipping & Shanahan, Helena, 2003. "Food and life cycle energy inputs: consequences of diet and ways to increase efficiency," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2-3), pages 293-307, March.
    6. Yohanis, Y.G. & Norton, B., 2002. "Life-cycle operational and embodied energy for a generic single-storey office building in the UK," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 77-92.
    7. Nishimura, Kazuhiko & Hondo, Hiroki & Uchiyama, Yohji, 1996. "Derivation of energy-embodiment functions to estimate the embodied energy from the material content," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 21(12), pages 1247-1256.
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    Cited by:

    1. Browne, David & O'Regan, Bernadette & Moles, Richard, 2010. "Use of multi-criteria decision analysis to explore alternative domestic energy and electricity policy scenarios in an Irish city-region," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 518-528.
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:5:p:452:d:69571 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Xun Zhang & Yuehui Ma & Bin Ye & Zhang-Ming Chen & Ling Xiong, 2016. "Feasibility Analyses of Developing Low Carbon City with Hybrid Energy Systems in China: The Case of Shenzhen," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(5), pages 1-16, May.
    4. Browne, David & O'Regan, Bernadette & Moles, Richard, 2012. "Comparison of energy flow accounting, energy flow metabolism ratio analysis and ecological footprinting as tools for measuring urban sustainability: A case-study of an Irish city-region," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 97-107.
    5. repec:eee:energy:v:135:y:2017:i:c:p:851-864 is not listed on IDEAS


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