Rethinking Energy-Efficiency Policies
Improving energy efficiency is a fashionable policy that governments worldwide promote. On paper, it seems a no-brainer: improving energy efficiency is sold as cost-reducing, job-creating, and planet-saving. Win, win, win – and the media often help close the deal, focusing entirely on all the supposed upsides. But there is another side – a downside – to the story.
After spending £240 million ($316 million), the United Kingdom ended government funding for its flagship energy-efficiency-loan program last year, after a scathing report from the National Audit Office showed the program was neither attracting people to sign up, nor delivering cost-effective energy-saving measures for those who did. The policy “did not persuade householders that energy efficiency measures are worth paying for,” according to the auditors, and “failed to deliver any meaningful benefit.”