An examination of energy efficiency retrofit scheme applications by low-income households in Ireland
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This paper studies the determinants of why low-income households in Ireland abandon energy eﬃciency retroﬁt applications using administrative data from a targeted energy eﬃciency grant. By applying for the scheme the applicants overcome any ﬁnancial barriers for undertaking retroﬁts and demonstrate their willingness to improve the energy eﬃciency of their dwellings. Hence this study contributes to the scarce literature on non-ﬁnancial barriers preventing low-income households from undertaking energy eﬃciency retroﬁts. Contrary to previous ﬁndings, we ﬁnd that the higher the number of retroﬁts to be implemented, the lower the probability of households abandoning their applications. We also ﬁnd that planning to undertake retroﬁts such as ventilation, which can signiﬁcantly improve the health and safety standards of the dwelling, is associated with a higher probability of abandonment. Both ﬁndings indicate the presence of key behavioural and informational barriers which prevent low-income households from fully comprehending the purpose or beneﬁts of proposed energy eﬃcient retroﬁts. Our ﬁndings also suggest that higher grant expenditure on dwellings with poor pre-works energy eﬃciency rating and on retroﬁts such as attic insulation and heating system upgrades may have the highest energy eﬃciency improvements per unit of expenditure. Within the constraints of limited budgets for retroﬁt grant supports, this research can inform the redesign of grant schemes to achieve the greatest aggregate improvements in residential building energy eﬃciency.