IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Householder Preferences for the Design of an Energy Efficiency Retrofit Subsidy in Ireland


  • Matthew Collins

    (Economic and Social Research Institute and Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland)

  • Seraphim Dempsey

    (Economic and Social Research Institute)

  • John Curtis

    (Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin)


Improving the energy efficiency of residential dwellings generates private benefits to homeowners, including lower energy costs, health benefits, and improved property values, as well as positive externalities associated with reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Underinvestment in residential energy efficiency has been attributed to market failures and behavioural issues, which provides a basis for public policy intervention in provision of energy efficiency. This paper examines households’ preferences for design features of energy efficiency retrofit subsidies and how these preferences vary across the usual respondent attributes. Based on a survey of Irish homeowners we find that cash payment subsidies are strongly preferred compared to other indirect methods of financial support such as tax credits, roughly by a 70:30 ratio. There are two notable areas where preferences differ by respondent attributes; age and whether respondents have previously availed of an energy efficiency retrofit grant. The preferences of older age cohorts differ compared to younger respondents across all the subsidy schemes examined, whereas people who have previously availed of retrofit grants are more likely to favour ex-post cash payments compared to upfront discounts.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Collins & Seraphim Dempsey & John Curtis, 2018. "Householder Preferences for the Design of an Energy Efficiency Retrofit Subsidy in Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 49(2), pages 145-172.
  • Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:49:y:2018:i:2:p:145-172

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stéphane Couture & Serge Garcia & Arnaud Reynaud, 2009. "Household Energy Choices and Fuelwood Consumption: An Econometric Approach to the French Data," LERNA Working Papers 09.08.284, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
    2. Brown, Marilyn A., 2001. "Market failures and barriers as a basis for clean energy policies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(14), pages 1197-1207, November.
    3. Collins, Matthew & Curtis, John, 2017. "An examination of the abandonment of applications for energy efficiency retrofit grants in Ireland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 260-270.
    4. Deng, Yongheng & Li, Zhiliang & Quigley, John M., 2012. "Economic returns to energy-efficient investments in the housing market: Evidence from Singapore," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 506-515.
    5. 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.
    6. Roberta Distante & Elena Verdolini & Massimo Tavoni, 2016. "Distributional and Welfare Impacts of Renewable Subsidies in Italy," Working Papers 2016.36, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    7. Brouwer, Roy, 2006. "Do stated preference methods stand the test of time? A test of the stability of contingent values and models for health risks when facing an extreme event," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 399-406, December.
    8. Couture, Stéphane & Garcia, Serge & Reynaud, Arnaud, 2012. "Household energy choices and fuelwood consumption: An econometric approach using French data," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1972-1981.
    9. Bird, Stephen & Hernández, Diana, 2012. "Policy options for the split incentive: Increasing energy efficiency for low-income renters," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 506-514.
    10. Matthew Collins & John Curtis, 2017. "Value for money in energy efficiency retrofits in Ireland: grant provider and grant recipients," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(51), pages 5245-5267, November.
    11. Collins, Matthew & Curtis, John, 2016. "An Examination of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Depth in Ireland," Papers WP532, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    12. Braun, Frauke G., 2010. "Determinants of households' space heating type: A discrete choice analysis for German households," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 5493-5503, October.
    13. Stefan Bouzarovski, 2014. "Energy poverty in the European Union: landscapes of vulnerability," Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 276-289, May.
    14. Roy Brouwer & Ivana Logar & Oleg Sheremet, 2017. "Choice Consistency and Preference Stability in Test-Retests of Discrete Choice Experiment and Open-Ended Willingness to Pay Elicitation Formats," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(3), pages 729-751, November.
    15. Deng, Yongheng & Wu, Jing, 2014. "Economic returns to residential green building investment: The developers' perspective," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 35-44.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Brown, Donal & Sorrell, Steve & Kivimaa, Paula, 2019. "Worth the risk? An evaluation of alternative finance mechanisms for residential retrofit," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 418-430.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Collins, Matthew & Dempsey, Seraphim & Curtis, John, 2017. "Financial incentives for residential energy efficiency investments in Ireland: Should the status quo be maintained?," Papers WP562, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    2. McCoy, Daire & Curtis, John, 2018. "Exploring the spatial and temporal determinants of gas central heating adoption," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 64-86.
    3. Michelsen, Carl Christian & Madlener, Reinhard, 2016. "Switching from fossil fuel to renewables in residential heating systems: An empirical study of homeowners' decisions in Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 95-105.
    4. Ortega-Izquierdo, Margarita & Paredes-Salvador, Andrés & Montoya-Rasero, Carlos, 2019. "Analysis of the decision making factors for heating and cooling systems in Spanish households," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 175-185.
    5. Curtis, John & Tovar, Miguel Angel & Grilli, Gianluca, 2020. "Access to and consumption of natural gas: Spatial and socio-demographic drivers," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    6. Pillai, Arya & Tovar Reaños, Miguel & Curtis, John, 2021. "An examination of energy efficiency retrofit scheme applications by low-income households in Ireland," Papers WP700, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    7. Chen, Qiu, 2021. "District or distributed space heating in rural residential sector? Empirical evidence from a discrete choice experiment in South China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 148(PA).
    8. Curtis, John & McCoy, Daire & Aravena, Claudia, 2018. "Heating system upgrades: The role of knowledge, socio-demographics, building attributes and energy infrastructure," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 183-196.
    9. Curtis, John & McCoy, Daire & Aravena Novielli, Claudia, 2017. "Determinants of residential heating system choice: an analysis of Irish households," Papers WP576, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    10. He, Jia & Wu, Jing, 2016. "Doing well by doing good? The case of housing construction quality in China," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 46-53.
    11. Charlier, Dorothée, 2015. "Energy efficiency investments in the context of split incentives among French households," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 465-479.
    12. Altwies, Joy E. & Nemet, Gregory F., 2013. "Innovation in the U.S. building sector: An assessment of patent citations in building energy control technology," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 819-831.
    13. Djanibekov, Utkur & Gaur, Varun, 2018. "Nexus of energy use, agricultural production, employment and incomes among rural households in Uttar Pradesh, India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 439-453.
    14. Sahari, Anna, 2019. "Electricity prices and consumers’ long-term technology choices: Evidence from heating investments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 19-53.
    15. Caurla, Sylvain & Bertrand, Vincent & Delacote, Philippe & Le Cadre, Elodie, 2018. "Heat or power: How to increase the use of energy wood at the lowest cost?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 85-103.
    16. Andreas Mense, 2018. "The Value of Energy Efficiency and the Role of Expected Heating Costs," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 71(3), pages 671-701, November.
    17. Fuerst, Franz & Warren-Myers, Georgia, 2018. "Does voluntary disclosure create a green lemon problem? Energy-efficiency ratings and house prices," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 1-12.
    18. Fleiter, Tobias & Schleich, Joachim & Ravivanpong, Ployplearn, 2012. "Adoption of energy-efficiency measures in SMEs—An empirical analysis based on energy audit data from Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 863-875.
    19. Yang, Xiaojun & Xu, Jintao & Xu, Xiaojie & Yi, Yuanyuan & Hyde, William F., 2020. "Collective forest tenure reform and household energy consumption: A case study in Yunnan Province, China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    20. Jaime, Mónica M. & Chávez, Carlos & Gómez, Walter, 2020. "Fuel choices and fuelwood use for residential heating and cooking in urban areas of central-southern Chile: The role of prices, income, and the availability of energy sources and technology," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:49:y:2018:i:2:p:145-172. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Martina Lawless (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.