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Department of Architecture


Cristina Peñasco (Associate Professor at the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge), who will present the paper she authored with Prof. Laura Diaz Anadon.

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Improving energy efficiency (EE) is vital to ensure a sustainable, affordable, and secure energy system. The residential sector represents, on average, 18.6% of the total final energy consumption in the OECD countries in 2018, reaching 29.5% in the UK (IEA, 2020a). Using a staggered differences-in-differences approach, we analyse changes in residential gas consumption five years before and after the adoption of energy efficiency measures. The analysis includes energy efficiency interventions involving the installation of new heating-related insulation equipment—i.e., of loft insulation and cavity walls, supported by energy efficiency programmes in England and Wales between 2005 and 2017—using a panel of 55,154 households from the National Energy Efficiency Data-Framework (NEED). Our results indicate that the adoption of EE measures is associated with significant reductions in household residential gas consumption. However, the effect does not last in the long run and energy savings fade away around four years after the retrofitting. This could be explained by the energy performance gap, the rebound effect and/or by concurrent residential construction projects and renovations associated with increases in energy consumption. Notably, for households in deprived areas, the installation of these efficiency measures does not deliver energy savings.

Cristina Peñasco is an Associate Professor in Public Policy at the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge, Director of the MPhil in Public Policy at the University of Cambridge and Director of Studies in Economics at Queens' College Cambridge. She is also a Centre Fellow at the Centre for the Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG) hosted at the Department of Land Economy. She holds a PhD in Economics from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) (Spain) and her research lines bring together multidisciplinary research in environmental economics, innovation policy and energy economics in green and energy efficiency technologies, with a focus on the evaluation of policy instruments enabling the transition to decarbonised economies. 


Wednesday, 31 May, 2023 - 13:30 to 15:00
Event location: 
Lecture Room 1, Department of Architecture