Are the Non-Monetary Costs of Energy Efficiency Investments Large? Understanding Low Take-up of a Free Energy Efficiency Program

E2e (Energy Institute at Haas, University of California, Berkeley | Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, MIT | Energy Policy Institute at Chicago, University of Chicago) / by Meredith Fowlie, Michael Greenstone, and Catherine Wolfram

We document very low take-up of an energy efficiency program that is widely believed to be privately beneficial. Program participants receive a substantial home “weatherization” retrofit; all installation and equipment costs are covered by the program. Less than one percent of presumptively eligible households take up the program in the control group. This rate increased only modestly after we took extraordinary efforts to inform households – via multiple channels – about the sizeable benefits and zero monetary costs. These findings are consistent with high non-monetary costs associated with program participation and/or energy efficiency investments.


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