By Emily Holden

The authors of a study that riled environmental groups are responding to criticism of their finding that not all energy efficiency programs are cost-effective.

Economists from the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley, tracked 30,000 low-income Michigan households eligible for the federal Weatherization Assistance Program, which provides funding to conduct energy audits and install new furnaces and insulation.

About 6 percent of the homes received weatherization upgrades worth roughly $5,000. On average, the households saved about $2,400 on energy bills—far less than originally projected, according to the paper.

The researchers say the results mean policymakers should question conventional wisdom that residential energy efficiency upgrades pay for themselves while reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions…

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Areas of Focus: Energy Markets
Definition
Energy Markets
Well-functioning markets are essential for providing access to reliable, affordable energy. EPIC research is uncovering the policies, prices and information needed to help energy markets work efficiently.
Energy Efficiency
Definition
Energy Efficiency
Improving energy efficiency is lauded as a promising way reduce emissions and lower energy costs. Yet, a robust body of research demonstrates that not all efficiency investments deliver. EPIC faculty...