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Participation in domestic energy retrofit programmes: key spatio-temporal drivers

Mohareb, E. ORCID:, Gillich, A. and Bristow, D. (2022) Participation in domestic energy retrofit programmes: key spatio-temporal drivers. Buildings and Cities, 3 (1). pp. 356-375. ISSN 2632-6655

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5334/bc.202


The Canadian government created the EcoENEGY Retrofit for Homes programme (2007–12) to improve residential energy efficiency and reduce emissions produced through energy use. The uptake of retrofits varied both spatially and temporally. This research examines spatio-temporal patterns of retrofit adoption to understand the drivers behind participation in the grant programme and assess how future grant-based programmes might improve the uptake of efficiency measures. Temporal analysis demonstrated continued growth of programme participation over its original period of availability, and this accelerated once the programme was extended for an additional year after its original closure date. However, some spatial correlations weakened, which may be attributable to changes in programme design during the extension period. Seasonal variation was also observed, with spikes in retrofit activity occurring in winter. A regression analysis for conversion rates in Ontario and British Columbia displayed significant positive correlations for high shelter costs (>30% of household income) and households occupied by usual residents (regular occupants). Population density, median property value (only in Ontario) and units that were recently occupied demonstrated negative correlations. Spatial variation at both the city and neighbourhood levels suggests a greater degree of programme customisation is required to ensure uniform building stock improvement. Policy relevance Domestic retrofit will be a crucial component of every developed nation’s net zero strategy. For example, in Canada and the UK, houses account for 13% and 20% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, respectively. This paper explores trends in the most recently completed national retrofit programme in Canada, demonstrating rates of adoption across the programme, the effects of programme design modification, and the value of an understood programme brand and format for uptake. Further, when faced with tighter deadlines, there is a weakening of the relationship between adoption and spatially linked attributes such as population density, and duration of occupancy. Conversely, a strengthening of the relationship with levels of education and household costs was observed in some jurisdictions. The evidence in this paper strengthens the case for long-term, actively managed retrofit programmes to enable the skills base and consumer interest towards market transformation.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Energy and Environmental Engineering group
ID Code:105507
Publisher:Ubiquity Press


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