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Energy efficiency: what has research delivered in the last 40 years?

Saunders, Harry D., Roy, Joyashree, Azevedo, Inês M.L., Chakravarty, Debalina, Dasgupta, Shyamasree, De La Rue Du Can, Stephane, Druckman, Angela, Fouquet, Roger, Grubb, Michael, Lin, Boqiang, Lowe, Robert, Madlener, Reinhard, McCoy, Daire M. ORCID: 0000-0001-6637-2227, Mundaca, Luis, Oreszczyn, Tadj, Sorrell, Steven, Stern, David, Tanaka, Kanako and Wei, Taoyuan (2021) Energy efficiency: what has research delivered in the last 40 years? Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 46. 135 - 165. ISSN 1543-5938

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Identification Number: 10.1146/annurev-environ-012320-084937


This article presents a critical assessment of 40 years of research that may be brought under the umbrella of energy efficiency, spanning different aggregations and domains-from individual producing and consuming agents to economy-wide effects to the role of innovation to the influence of policy. After 40 years of research, energy efficiency initiatives are generally perceived as highly effective. Innovation has contributed to lowering energy technology costs and increasing energy productivity. Energy efficiency programs in many cases have reduced energy use per unit of economic output and have been associated with net improvements in welfare, emission reductions, or both. Rebound effects at the macro level still warrant careful policy attention, as they may be nontrivial. Complexity of energy efficiency dynamics calls for further methodological and empirical advances, multidisciplinary approaches, and granular data at the service level for research in this field to be of greatest societal benefit.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2022 12:06
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2024 02:39

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