Edited by Joanne Evans and Lester C. Hunt
Chapter 10: Modelling Energy Savings and Environmental Benefits from Energy Policies and New Technologies
David L. Ryan and Denise Young* 1 Introduction Technological change, especially when it involves improvements in energy efficiency, is often viewed as a harbinger of good news as far as efforts to improve environmental quality are concerned. This view underlies many policy initiatives that target the adoption of new technologies in the residential, commercial/industrial and transportation sectors. For example, as part of their overall plan to reduce primary energy consumption by 20 per cent, the top two priorities of the Action Plan for Energy Efficiency of the Commission of the European Communities focus on (i) labelling and minimum energy performance standards for a variety of appliances ranging from boilers, water heaters, televisions, street lighting and appliances; and (ii) requirements for energy performance standards in new and renovated buildings (Commission of European Communities, 2006). In this chapter, we discuss several issues related to the evaluation of the potential effectiveness of policies that focus on the adoption of new technologies. Although we draw primarily on examples from the residential sector, the general arguments and approaches apply to all sectors. The initial evaluation of the potential for a new technology (such as compact fluorescent light bulbs, energy-efficient household appliances, or programmable thermostats, for example) to save energy, and thereby put fewer stressors on the environment, is generally based primarily on engineering calculations. These engineering calculations often provide an upper limit on the potential benefits from widespread adoption of these technologies. In practice, however, these upper limits are unlikely to be reached. This is...
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