Cost Benefit Analysis Domestic Energy Efficiency Economics Essay

An addition in nursery gases and the depletion of finite fossil fuels is a really serious issue in today ‘s society. It is now imperative that actions are taken to cut down energy ingestion and new methods of bring forthing clean energy come into increased usage. One manner of cut downing energy use is through the addition in energy efficiency. Energy efficiency can be defined as a ratio of the utile energy out compared to the energy that is inputted. Increasing the energy efficiency nevertheless is non a straightforward solution of cut downing energy use and there are a figure of different driving factors every bit good as barriers associated. This essay will look at an single published paper on the subject of energy efficiency and expression at each of the positions highlighted in it.

Paper Summary

The intent of the paper in inquiry is to “ supply a templet for ex ante economic ratings of domestic energy efficiency programmes ” [ 1 ] .

There are a figure of ‘driving forces ‘ behind energy efficiency and the most recent, good known recognition of the demand for energy efficiency is the Kyoto Protocol. There are other methods such as the Gothenburg Protocol, besides used to promote and increase energy efficiency and therefore a decrease in harmful emanations. It has been highlighted by several states that a cardinal country for the addition in energy efficiency ballads within the domestic/residential sector. The bulk of surveies carried out with respects to the benefits associated with increased energy efficiency in the domestic sector tend to concentrate chiefly on the energy nest eggs entirely and the ensuing economic nest eggs. They do non take into consideration the benefit towards the criterion of life which straight has an consequence on the winter morbidity and mortality rates.

The purpose of the paper being analysed is to progress the literature that has already been produced for the economic rating of energy efficiency in the domestic sector. It does this by transporting out a “ comprehensive rating of a scope of costs and benefits ” .1 A instance survey is carried out in which Ireland is used to execute the rating of the scope of costs and benefits. Through this work a templet is developed for future “ ex ante analysis of large-scale domestic energy efficiency programmes ” .1

Through the procedure of transporting out the above, several different countries of affair were researched and analysed. The first of which, involved analyzing the “ costs of the proposed energy efficiency plan ” . There are three countries to see with respects to the costs: stuffs, labor, and sensitiveness analysis. Following this the energy benefits were analysed of which included “ Energy nest eggs V. Comfort benefits ” and “ The value of decreases in energy usage ” . Environmental issues were so looked at in some item which involved gauging physical decreases of emanations such as CO2, SO2, NOx and PM10 that had occurred due to the retrofitting measures that had been implemented. Mortality and morbidity benefits were besides looked at and it was attempted to put pecuniary values on each. Finally, comfort was assessed which is the most hard to give a pecuniary value due chiefly to its built-in subjectiveness and besides because there has non been a great trade of work done on this in the yesteryear.

The paper concludes by supplying a tabular array of the overall consequences of the cost benefit analysis of domestic energy efficiency programme at assorted price reduction rates, followed with a comparing of the consequences with other surveies that have been carried out it.

The Wider Context

Under the Kyoto Protocol the UK is presently working to cut C emanations by 12.5 % from 1990 degrees by 2012 [ 2 ] . Similarly in 2003 the European Commission proposed a Directive on terminal usage energy efficiency and energy services which aims at energy efficiency betterments of 1 % dad for the concluding users over a 6 month period. [ 3 ] These lawfully adhering international understandings have raised force per unit areas on cutting down on the usage of fossil fuels every bit good as increasing energy preservation throughout all sectors. However there is no simple solution to cutting emanations and cut downing energy ingestion, hence legion arguments have arisen on the affair.

One of the arguments is with respects to policies and whether they can work or non. Industrialised states have increased energy efficiency significantly since 1973 through the usage of tonss of policies [ 4 ] . One illustration of a policy introduced by Japan in 1983 was the demands of iceboxs to hold a minimal energy public presentation criterion under the Energy Conservation Law. This policy finally led to around a 15 % lessening in the energy usage by iceboxs between 1979 and 19973 therefore demoing the effectiveness policies can hold. The argument nevertheless is non merely to make with whether policies work or non but besides to make with whose duty it is to administrate these policies and energy salvaging plans and how the decision maker should be decided on. There are a figure of issues involved with administrating these policies and plans such as pull offing budgets, fixing initial technical/market studies, implementing the plans etc. Following a survey carried out in the USA a decision was made that it is non possible to hold a individual decision maker for big energy efficiency policies and programmes [ 5 ] . Within the UK the duty to administrate these policies and plans must be assigned by the authorities, and it is most likely to be given to non-profitable administrations such as the Energy Saving Trust [ 6 ] or the Carbon Trust [ 7 ] .

A really common and likely the most relevant argument is whether energy efficiency really saves energy. The ground for increased energy efficiency non cut downing energy ingestion is due to what is known as the ‘Rebound consequence ‘ . The recoil consequence involves the addition in the supply of energy services with a corresponding lessening in the effectual monetary value. [ 8 ] These lessenings in monetary value can ensue in an increased demand. As a consequence, any additions in engineering efficiency can be lost if the increased demand for service is n’t offset by increasing the fuel monetary value. This nevertheless is debated and many analysts do accept the position from economic experts that an addition in energy efficiency at the microeconomic degree leads to an addition in energy usage at the macroeconomic degree. [ 9 ] It is hard to measure this recoil consequence as there are legion countries related to it such as infinite warming, infinite chilling, H2O warming, residential lighting, contraptions and transit ; hence if talking about the recoil consequence it is of import to stipulate in which country.

The argument of whether energy efficiency really saves energy or non leads into the work of how to really mensurate energy efficiency and how to look into if implementing new energy preservation plans are really good. There have been legion surveies carried out in both micro degree and macro degree demoing clear benefits of retrofitting plans which leads to the inquiry to be asked ; if these plans appear so successful why are more non being implemented? [ 10 ] This is what the survey being looked at is measuring – cost-benefit analysis of domestic energy efficiency.


The procedure of developing the templet began by developing a computing machine theoretical account that would cipher some of the physical costs and benefits of the programme. An Energy Assessment Model ( EAM ) was developed based on the UK ‘s Standard Assessment Procedure ( SAP ) ( process put in topographic point by the authorities for ciphering the energy public presentation of edifices ) which was adapted for Irish conditions. The EAM is made up of 1824 representative brooding theoretical accounts of which each represents a per centum of the national home stock. In order to accomplish a representative home theoretical account, the most recent informations placing the specifications of the brooding stock i.e. floor country, insularity degrees, heating equipment1 etc, was obtained. Each of the theoretical accounts are a made up of a combination eight brooding types, six classs of insularity and 19 types of heating systems­1. The Model ‘s energy appraisal process was used to obtain information from the different combinations, on national energy ingestion, cost, internal temperatures, emanations etc1. There was a figure of different energy salvaging steps implemented to make with increasing the efficiency of homes.

In order to take into history the transition of the physical estimates a cost-benefit theoretical account ( CBM ) was added to the EAM. Finding suited figures in order calculate the value in decreases in environmental emanations was all done by executing a literature reappraisal. Discount rates were besides taken into consideration when measuring costs and benefits. It was recommended by the Irish authorities that rate of 5 % should be used which would give a good representation of the opportunity-cost of capital. For this survey a scope of 0 – 10 % of price reduction rates were used.

Main Discussion

Case Study

In order to transport the survey, Ireland is used as a instance survey due to the fact that Ireland has the highest rate of fuel poorness in the UK with 1 in 3 families enduring from the effects. [ 11 ] Another ground for the pick of Ireland is due to the high winter mortality rates of which 15 % is given and is said to be one of the highest in Europe. However a survey carried out in 2002 showed that winter mortality rates in Ireland were really higher than this at about 21 % and with Portugal holding an even greater mortality rate at around 28 % . [ 12 ] The concluding ground for taking Ireland is due to the fact that they are fighting greatly to run into the demands set by the Kyoto Protocol which is due to an addition in Ireland ‘s Celtic Tiger economic system and personal conveyance usage, along with a lessening in the usage of public conveyance and hapless edifice criterions. [ 13 ] The paper aims to utilize Ireland to establish an ex-ante rating of a programme on, which will increase the thermic criterions of homes in Ireland up to the latest Irish edifice ordinances over a period of 10 old ages.

Costss of the proposed energy-efficiency programme

The costs of an energy efficiency plan are rather merely made up of stuff and labor costs.

Seven different energy salvaging steps were decided on and monetary values were estimated with the aid of measure surveyors connoting there are no issues with the pricing of each step. Each of the seven steps chosen to implement are all worthwhile and cost effectual steps in cut downing energy loss in the domestic sector. [ 14 ]

There are several different factors associated with the labor cost. The first of which is to look at what labor is required to implement the plan. The survey states that efforts were made to place an efficient labour mix ; nevertheless the mix of labor that was identified was strictly refering the work involved to put in the steps i.e. laborers, pipe fitters, linemans, plasterers and carpenters. Therefore the ex-ante templet will non take into the consideration costs of the labor that is required for undertakings such as the disposal and coordination, plan development, planning and budgeting, all of which will be indispensable in implementing programmes. [ 15 ] These will wholly be higher paid managerial occupations intending rewards could be well higher.

The survey states that the most efficient and cost-efficient manner to cover with a deficiency of work force would be to use unemployed people who have been trained through one of assorted developing administrations. This determination is believed to be a good option and a really executable one as companies are now encouraged to take on these forces by having “ aureate hullo ” of up to & A ; lb ; 2500 from the authorities. [ 16 ]

Energy benefits

When discoursing energy benefits the chief inquiry is whether families would prefer to hold reduced energy measures or increased comfort degrees. Clinch puts frontward a valid point that when energy efficiency is increased consumers have the option to maintain the internal temperature of the house the same and benefit from lower warming measures or let the temperature to lift and profit from increased comfort. This leads him onto the statement that households with a higher income will profit from reduced warming measures and that lower income families are more likely to profit from greater comfort. However this statement does non keep strong as it does non take into considerations all of a households differences. For illustration in a survey by Adam Faiers et Al ( 2007 ) several mentions [ 17 ] were made to undertakings that concluded that persons with higher degrees of instruction were more likely to exhibit environmentally positive behavior. Another factor non taken into consideration is age within a family. A survey carried out by Richard Semenik et Al ( 1982 ) suggests that center aged households are more likely to be in a place to conserve energy whereas aged people are traveling to hold greater restraints as they require warmer family temperatures.

Mention is made to the Energy Saving Trust since they stated that 70 % of benefits of a energy preservation programme in the UK are seen in the signifier of energy cost nest eggs and emanation decreases which leads Clinch to presuming that the staying 30 % is seen as increased comfort in the signifier of heat. The statement on this affair is why heat? There is nil to propose that families are n’t utilizing the energy for other intents such as increased lighting or holding more baths instead than showers.

Environmental Benefits

The chief undertaking in measuring the environmental benefits of an energy-efficiency plan involves change overing physical decreases in emanations into pecuniary values. The existent physical decreases of emanations were found through the usage of the energy-assessment theoretical account. In order to transport out these transitions, Clinch adopts a benefits transportation attack. It is agreed that utilizing the benefits transfer attack is the best option for transporting out the transitions as it takes into consideration consequences from old surveies in different locations and varies them consequently for the usage in this survey. [ 18 ] Clinch makes a strong statement for his chosen figures through the referencing of several surveies. [ 19 ] Clinch provides good particularization of all the values used to transport out the transition. Sensitivity analysis is besides performed to see the theoretical account will stay accurate should any parametric quantities ( pecuniary value in this instance ) alter over a period of clip.

Mortality and Morbidity Benefits

It is true that the figure of deceases during winter months is well high in Ireland, and in most states for that affair. It is besides true that the cold exposure is the chief factor in extra winter mortality rate ; nevertheless, the addition can besides be due to age ( most probably ) and grippe. [ 20 ] A survey by Laake ( 1995 ) showed that in England and Wales the winter mortality was twice every bit high in old people as in in-between elderly people. Surveies besides show that winter mortality is more terrible for families in states that have relatively warm temperatures all twelvemonth unit of ammunition, as they struggle to heat their places when the temperature does drop. [ 21 ]

Clinch aims to do usage of mortality statistics of a state similar to Ireland in respects to demography and lifestyle but really different with respects to thermic criterions in lodging. For these grounds Norway is chose in order to do the comparing to see how thermic criterions affect the mortality rate. The grounds for taking Norway are backed up good by a old survey by Clinch and Healy ( 1999 ) . The survey shows the extended research they have carried out, such as the comparing between registered mortality informations between 1986 and 1995 from the Irish Central Statistics Office and Statistics Norway.

Pleasantly the most controversial country of economic sciences is puting pecuniary values on the mortality benefits. Clinch decided on utilizing the value of statistical life ( VSL ) in order to set a value on the decrease in hazard of decease that would be a consequence of implementing an energy-efficiency plan. Using the VSL is a valid method as it allows a amount of persons to give their ain rating of the decreases in hazards to their lives. How a individual values their ain life is illustrated by a figure of picks they make such as safety merchandises they buy or the velocity at which they drive their auto. [ 22 ] The most normally known term for this is ‘willingness-to-pay ‘ . [ 23 ] Clinch makes valid statement by taking age into consideration in order to accomplish an age-adjusted VSL and goes on to reason that the “ willingness to pay additions with age up to a point before diminishing with old age ” . Harmonizing to Aldy and Viscusi ( 2007 ) this is a true fact as they besides province that the VLS increases with age, extremums in mid-life, and later falls. Clinch besides gives a more elaborate account of valuing mortality benefits in Clinch and Healy ( 2000c ) .

A worthwhile point to do during the treatment or valuing mortality and morbidity rates is that although certain families may non be ‘willing-to-pay ‘ , the authorities will really supply aid in paying for heating during periods of really low temperatures. The strategy implemented by the authorities provides ‘Cold conditions payments ‘ to eligible families when certain conditions are present. [ 24 ]

Morbidity benefits from energy-efficiency programme once more can be valued by a individual ‘s willingness to pay for the decrease in hazard to wellness. This allows a opinion to be made if wellness resources are in their most extremely valued usage. [ 25 ] It is just to state the job of cold and moistness houses can turn out risky to human wellness. This is backed up by a survey by Julia Evans et Al ( 2000 ) that states that although moistness is n’t such a major factor, moistness is frequently present in cold conditions and the combination of both can hold important wellness effects.

Clinch truly states that there are two chief elements to see with respects to valuing the benefit of decreased morbidity ; the avoided cost to the person and the avoided cost to wider society. It is besides true that the cost to the person would come in the signifier of non being able to work and the cost to society would be in the signifier of hospitalization and drugs. [ 26 ]


Directly off it is really hard to happen any issues to differ with Clinch about as he says himself: “ Valuing comfort is possibly the most hard portion of cost-benefit analysis… because there has been so small empirical work undertaken in this country ” . A considerable sum of clip has been spent looking for informations with respects to giving the comfort benefits pecuniary values nevertheless all informations simply gives information with respects to the physical comfort itself such as, what is a comfy temperature to hold in a life room? Clinch makes mention to Henwood ( 1997 ) which states that improved lodging can hold good effects on a individual ‘s psychological province and that literature in this country is good established ; nevertheless this does non assist in developing pecuniary values for the comfort benefits. Clinch comes to the decision that the best manner to value comfort degrees is to utilize the proportion of energy nest eggs people have gave up in exchange for increased comfort degrees. Due to the deficiency of literature on this topic there is neither a instance for holding or differing with this determination ; nevertheless personally it seems like a valid pick.

Appraisement of decisions and Recommendations

The tabular array below shows the consequences from the cost-benefit analysis for the instance survey of Ireland holding the energy-efficiency programme implemented in the domestic lodging sector.

Although the consequences show that there is economical benefit in the programme ( ˆ1601 million being the cost of the programme and ˆ4,723 million being the entire benefits of transporting out the plan ) there are a considerable sum of inaccuracies with respects to valuing each of the benefits as stated in this essay.

The graph above shows the net societal benefit and the payback period at a 5 % price reduction rate ; nevertheless there are merely excessively many uncertainnesss and parametric quantities that could change over clip that could enormously impact these figures.

It is felt that in order to transport out accurate cost-benefit analysis ; farther work must travel into looking at better ways of valuing benefits such as mortality and comfort benefits. This will so let a more accurate templet for ex-ante cost-benefit analysis to be developed.