15,000 households in 8 countries...

...told us about their energy efficiency purchasing. Can you guess how they answered?

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Households account for about 27% of the EU’s final energy use. The energy used by households largely depends on the decisions that more than 500 Million Europeans make when purchasing energy-related technologies, from efficient light bulbs to building retrofits.

BRISKEE and CHEETAH are two Horizon 2020-funded research projects that help us understand why and how households make energy efficiency investments. Both projects provide empirical evidence of consumer decision-making, linked to energy modelling and effective policy design.

Discount rates are key

We invest today but the savings occur in the future, and we, as households, somehow try to evaluate the future value of these investments. Although very few households make a thorough calculation, this more or less intuitive decision-making process may be captured via implicit discount rates, which, among others, reveal households’ preferences for time and risk as well as reflecting “barriers” to energy efficiency such as lack of information or lack of capital.

Rather than using average implicit discount rates in policy assessment and modelling, more realistic implicit discount rates vary by household characteristics, countries, and technologies. BRISKEE and CHEETAH in total asked about 30 000 households in eight EU countries about their investment behaviour and views on energy efficiency policy. Based on an improved understanding of household decision making, policies, energy demand and macro-economic effects are modelled in the projects. The outcomes show that more energy can be saved than in traditional modelling, but there are also important lessons for more effective, targeted and realistic policies.

BRISKEE provides empirical evidence of the factors underlying the implicit discount rates and their relation with adoption of energy-efficient technologies in EU housholds,. It models the diffusion of energy efficient technology and energy demand in the EU residential sector until 2030, and the macro-level impacts of changes in microeconomic decision-making and energy efficiency policy.

CHEETAH has an even stronger focus on policy. It provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of policies such as energy labels or subsidies for the adoption of energy-efficient technologies in households. Using engineering-economic and macro-economic models, it also explores the effects of micro-level decision-making and of energy-efficiency policies on EU residential energy demand and on macro-economic variables until 2030.

Our LIBRARY contains reports and deliverables from both BRISKEE and CHEETAH, as well as event reports, links to relevant external papers and reports and other further reading. This is a wealth of information and results from the projects.