According to Canadian scientists, increasing energy efficiency also increases overall energy consumption. You heard it here first - consumers are taking their newly acquired energy savings and plowing it back into more and bigger energy guzzling products.
The conclusions by CIBC World Markets were reached, in part, by studying the effects of increased efficiency standards for new, Canadian homes. The results indicate that, despite huge gains in energy efficiency, per capita energy consumption grows by ever increasing amounts.
The major culprit in the housing sector is demand for larger homes which include more and more energy gulping goodies such as media rooms, deluxe appliances, additional water heaters and the like.
Jeff Rubin, CIBC's Chief Economist, suggests that the problem stems from aiming at the wrong target - "reducing energy consumption must be the final objective, not increased energy efficiency." Rubin says that "in order for efficiency to actually curb energy usage, as opposed to energy intensity, consumers must be kept from reaping the benefits of those initiatives into ever-growing energy consumption."
Does the old expression "damned if you do and damned if you don't" apply here?
Read CBIC's excellent article here.
Jan DeGiorgio EcoBroker, GRI Mountain Home, ID