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Potential of building-scale alternative energy to alleviate risk from the future price of energy


  • Bristow, David
  • Kennedy, Christopher A.


The energy used for building operations, the associated greenhouse gas emissions, and the uncertainties in future price of natural gas and electricity can be a cause of concern for building owners and policy makers. In this work we explore the potential of building-scale alternative energy technologies to reduce demand and emissions while also shielding building owners from the risks associated with fluctuations in the price of natural gas and grid electricity. We analyze the monetary costs and benefits over the life cycle of five technologies (photovoltaic and wind electricity generation, solar air and water heating, and ground source heat pumps) over three audience or building types (homeowners, small businesses, large commercial and institutional entities). The analysis includes a Monte Carlo analysis to measure risk that can be compared to other investment opportunities. The results indicate that under government incentives and climate of Toronto, Canada, the returns are relatively high for small degrees of risks for a number of technologies. Ground source heat pumps prove to be exceptionally good investments in terms of their energy savings, emission, reductions, and economics, while the bigger buildings tend also to be better economic choices for the use of these technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Bristow, David & Kennedy, Christopher A., 2010. "Potential of building-scale alternative energy to alleviate risk from the future price of energy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 1885-1894, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:4:p:1885-1894

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kikuchi, Emi & Bristow, David & Kennedy, Christopher A., 2009. "Evaluation of region-specific residential energy systems for GHG reductions: Case studies in Canadian cities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1257-1266, April.
    2. McDonald, Alan & Schrattenholzer, Leo, 2001. "Learning rates for energy technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 255-261, March.
    3. Jacobsson, Staffan & Johnson, Anna, 2000. "The diffusion of renewable energy technology: an analytical framework and key issues for research," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(9), pages 625-640, July.
    4. Maribu, Karl Magnus & Firestone, Ryan M. & Marnay, Chris & Siddiqui, Afzal S., 2007. "Distributed energy resources market diffusion model," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 4471-4484, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chan-Joong Kim & Taehoon Hong & Jimin Kim & Daeho Kim & Dong-yeon Seo, 2015. "A Process for the Implementation of New Renewable Energy Systems in a Building by Considering Environmental and Economic Effect," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(9), pages 1-21, September.
    2. Hong, Taehoon & Koo, Choongwan & Kwak, Taehyun, 2013. "Framework for the implementation of a new renewable energy system in an educational facility," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 539-551.
    3. Casasso, Alessandro & Sethi, Rajandrea, 2016. "G.POT: A quantitative method for the assessment and mapping of the shallow geothermal potential," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 765-773.
    4. Hughes, Larry & Chaudhry, Nikhil, 2011. "The challenge of meeting Canada's greenhouse gas reduction targets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1352-1362, March.
    5. Bayer, Peter & Saner, Dominik & Bolay, Stephan & Rybach, Ladislaus & Blum, Philipp, 2012. "Greenhouse gas emission savings of ground source heat pump systems in Europe: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 1256-1267.

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