The impacts of household retrofit and domestic energy efficiency schemes: A large scale, ex post evaluation


There is widespread interest in the ability of retrofit schemes to shape domestic energy use in order to tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions. Although much has been written on the topic, there have been few large-scale ex post evaluations of the actual impacts of such schemes. We address this by assessing domestic energy use before and after the Kirklees Warm Zone (KWZ) scheme, which by fitting insulation in 51,000 homes in the 2007–2010 period is one of the largest retrofit schemes completed in the UK to date. To do this, we develop and apply a new methodology that isolates the impacts of retrofit activity from broader background trends in energy use. The results suggest that the actual impacts of the KWZ scheme have been higher than predicted, and that the scale of any performance gaps or rebound effects have been lower than has often been assumed. They also suggest that impacts on energy use in lower income areas are consistent with predictions, but that impacts in middle and higher income areas are higher than predicted. These findings support the case for the wider and/or accelerated adoption of domestic retrofit schemes in other contexts.

Phil Webber, Andy Gouldson, Niall Kerr. In: Energy Policy. Volume 84, September 2015, Pages 35–43.