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Exploring the factors affecting home energy retrofit adoption - a case study of the EcoENERGY retrofit program

Mohareb, E. and Gillich, A. (2018) Exploring the factors affecting home energy retrofit adoption - a case study of the EcoENERGY retrofit program. In: New Horizons in Green Civil Engineering, 25-26 April 2018, Victoria, Canada.

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Abstract/Summary

In the wake of the global financial crisis, the Canadian government created the EcoENERGY Retrofit for Homes program with the stated goal of “Encouraging homes to become more energy-efficient, reduce emissions produced through energy use, and contribute to clean air, water, energy, and a healthy environment for Canadians." However, results varied considerably nationwide. An early review of this data suggests that retrofits were not adopted with spatial or temporal uniformity. Population data on were obtained from the 2006 and 2011 censes and the National Household Survey; these were then matched with household pre- and post-retrofit data from the EcoENERGY Retrofit program. Multiple linear regression analysis of the retrofit adoption rate was conducted at the finest spatial resolution common to these datasets. This preliminary analysis suggests that income, non-condominium properties, and high shelter costs (greater than 30% of household income) had a significant positive correlation with adoption of retrofit measures at a 99.9% confidence level. Meanwhile, renter-occupied units and participation in the workforce were negatively correlated. Seasonal variation was also observed, with the majority of retrofits occurring in winter months. Further, spatial variation at both the city and neighbourhood level suggests a greater degree of program customisation is required to ensure uniform building stock improvement. The findings fit with an emerging pattern that grant programs can be effective at delivering high volumes of savings but have a limited market impact in the post-funding period; ~25% of energy advisors were laid off after the conclusion of the initial program end date of March 2011, tied to a sharp decline in the number of energy audits. This study reinforces the importance of the upfront cost barrier and consistent federal-level support. However, retrofit program design may need to provide different grants in different municipalities to address specific community needs.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of the Built Environment > Construction Management and Engineering > Innovative and Sustainable Technologies
Faculty of Science > School of the Built Environment > Construction Management and Engineering > Transition Pathways to a Low-Carbon Economy
ID Code:80606

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