The confluence of the threat of global climate change, increasing energy prices, and widespread adoption of low-carbon technologies have been cited as key drivers of the energy transition. Two of the scenarios exemplified by future rates of uptake of energy transition based on expectations of change in demand, and socially incremental choices that define the transition in terms of energy consumption and consumer behavior illustrate potential results under the current business-as-usual paradigm. An important area that has been overlooked is how spatial diffusion of energy-efficiency policies or complementarities across policy mixes can yield direct measurable benefits that improve overall energy policy design and performance measurement.

In our new paper (co-authored with Dr. John Byrne) titled Spatial Energy Efficiency Patterns in New York and Implications for Energy Demand and the Rebound Effect, published in Energy Sources, Part B: Economics Planning and Policy, we posit the inquiry of how to address this quandary as one of spatial dynamism in policy design: promoting spatial sensitivity in technology-or sector-specific energy-efficiency policies to support increased diffusion, information sharing, and accelerating the adoption rates of energy efficiency measures.

In this study, we applied the spatial modeling (i.e., spatial Durbin error model-SDEM) approach to analyze adoption trends for residential energy-efficiency measures. To do so, we evaluated the potential for local socioeconomic and building performance variables which influence the effectiveness of energy efficiency policies and diffusion patterns in each location in the long-term. We investigated this potential for New York state at a ZIP code level to show the ubiquitous promise and potential of this conceptualization to improve urban energy planning and management. To arrive at a practical strategy, we investigated the policy implications for energy demand and the rebound effect.

Our study shows the significant influence of the built environment and jurisdictional boundaries and their effect on energy transition capacities. As such, the paper makes a compelling case for a fundamental reconsideration of energy policy design in New York and target setting to account for specific conditions in the built environment that may constrain the uptake of energy-efficient technologies in a given jurisdiction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *