Linking energy efficiency indicators with policy evaluation - A combined top-down and bottom-up analysis of space heating consumption in residential buildings
This paper studies the factors underlying the evolution of the energy consumption for space heating in residential buildings by linking top-down analysis, based on meso-indicators, and bottom-up analysis, based on policy evaluations. The top-down analysis (i.e. the perspective from energy statistics) allows one to separate the change in total energy use into activity level, societal factors and energy efficiency gains. The explanatory power of the resulting meso-(statistical) indicators is often limited, if the underlying factors are not examined (e.g. changes in heating levels and patterns, weather effects, cost of energy and policies regarding insulation and heating system standards). We overcome most of these drawbacks by conducting a bottom-up analysis (i.e the perspective from single policy measures), which enables us to discern the contribution of energy efficiency policies to the changes observed with the meso-analysis. We focus on space heating consumption in the residential sectors for Germany and Switzerland. A major aim of this analysis is to show the contribution of energy efficiency policies (such as thermal building regulation, subsidy programmes, fiscal measures etc.) towards the changes in this indicator. The results show that the progress in energy efficiency (both autonomous and policy induced) in both countries had the greatest effect (-776 PJ for Germany, −42 PJ for Switzerland) regarding the change in energy consumption for space heating in the period from 2000 to 2016. However, the impacts of ""technical and comfort"" rebounds (+436 PJ for Germany, N/A for Switzerland) and other developments such as societal changes (+316 PJ for Germany, +35.5 PJ for Switzerland) were found to compensate for a significant part of the energy efficiency gains. In both countries, it was possible to link physical energy efficiency indicators to policy evaluation, but limitations were also identified which are primarily related to data gaps.