Meredith Fowlie, Michael Greenstone, and Catherine Wolfram “Are the Non-Monetary Costs of Energy Efficiency Investments Large? Understanding Low Take-up of a Free Energy Efficiency Program” (Revised January 2015) (Revised version published in American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, 105: 201-204, May 2015) | WP-256R | Blog Post

We document very low take-up of an energy efficiency program that is widely believed to be privately beneficial. Program participants receive a substantial home “weatherization” retrofit; all installation and equipment costs are covered by the program. Less than one percent of presumptively eligible households take up the program in the control group. This rate increased only modestly after we took extraordinary efforts to inform households – via multiple channels – about the sizeable benefits and zero monetary costs. These findings are consistent with high non-monetary costs associated with program participation and/or energy efficiency investments.