Low rates of free-riding in residential energy efficiency retrofit grants


ESRI Research Bulletin Articles provide short summaries of work published by ESRI researchers and overviews of thematic areas covered by ESRI programmes of research. Bulletin Articles are designed to be easily accessible to a wide readership. A reference or references to the full publication is included at the start of each Bulletin article.

April 26, 2018 | ESRI Research Bulletin

front cover of RB201812 Authors: Matthew Collins , John Curtis

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) administers the Better Energy Homes (BEH) grant scheme to encourage households to invest in residential energy efficiency retrofits. All grant schemes are subject to free-riders, where a proportion of those being grant-aided would have undertaken the activity (i.e. energy efficiency retrofits) in the absence of any grant aid, which is often referred to as deadweight loss. This research finds that just 7% of participants in the BEH scheme would have undertaken a retrofit even in the absence of grant aid, and a further 8% would have occurred with a lower level of grant aid than was available. These free-rider rates are very low compared to similar schemes internationally, which have free-riding rates ranging from 40% to as much as 96%.


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