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