Wednesday 5 February 2014

Following my post on co-benefits  it seems as if the focus on this important topic is rapidly growing.  In the space of a week I have seen two reports that describe the co-benefits of energy efficiency investment.  Firstly there was the report from the Rocky Mountain Institute, “How to calculate and present deep retrofit value” which sets out nine “value elements” for deep retrofits:


Property costs and risks

–       retrofit development costs

–       non-energy property operating costs

–       retrofit risk mitigation


Enterprise costs

–       health costs

–       employee costs

–       promotions and marketing costs


Enterprise revenues

–       customer access and sales

–       property derived revenues


Enterprise risks

–       enterprise risk management/mitigation


The report sets out a framework for considering these costs, benefits and risks and presenting them.


The second report – “The economic impacts of EE investments in the South East” –  comes from the South East Energy Alliance, a regional energy efficiency organization working in 11 US states and focuses more on the benefits outside the end-user’s system boundary.  It is an independent report from Cadmus that looks at the wider economic impact of energy efficiency programmes covering direct benefits, indirect benefits and induced benefits.  As well as demonstrating actual costs per avoided MWh for power and gas the report looks at avoided capacity costs, jobs created, labour income and total value added.


The overall conclusions are that the $20.2 million invested by the US Department of Energy in the programmes studied led to economic value of $78.3m, a return on investment of 387% and created 347 new jobs.


Whatever we call them, co-benefits, non-energy benefits, secondary benefits or strategic benefits, the recognition of these important benefits is clearly growing.   We need to ensure we understand them properly and evaluate them at the point of making investment decisions.


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Dr Steven Fawkes

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