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The project IN-BEE

Assessing the intangibles: the socio-economic benefits of energy efficiency

Improving energy efficiency can deliver a range of benefits to the economy and society. However energy efficiency programmes are often evaluated only on the basis of the energy savings they deliver. As a result, the full value of energy efficiency improvements in both national and global economies may be significantly underestimate. There are several reasons why the full range of outcomes from energy efficiency policy is not generally evaluated. First, it is due to the non‐market, somewhat intangible, nature of the socioeconomic benefits, which makes them difficult to quantify. Second, the effects due to energy efficiency alone can be complex to isolate and to determine causality. Third, evaluators and policy makers working in the energy efficiency sphere are usually energy professionals, working for an energy agency or ministry, with little experience of how energy efficiency might impact other non‐energy sectors.

On the other hand, there is increasing recognition within the international policy community of the importance of intangible benefits in energy efficiency projects. At the same time, the importance of sub-national actors is being more widely understood: policy, programme and project innovation does not only emerge from national governments. There is increasing interest in how local authorities, social enterprises, community groups and other ‘middle actors’ can design and deliver energy efficiency initiatives.

Given this new understanding of the variety of actors and networks which can deliver energy efficiency, and the importance of intangible benefits, new frameworks and tools are needed to record, analyses and communicate the depth and breadth of this activity and its potential for delivering social and economic benefits.

The main aim of IN-BEE is to address the theme of energy efficiency and to consider all the intangible benefits of improving energy efficiency through a multi-disciplinary approach, combining methods, datasets, and techniques from cutting edge research in law and economics, humanities and consumer behavior, regulation and environmental sciences, as well as engineering.

The overall outcome of IN-BEE is to consolidate a set of policy recommendations for the EU and public/private institutions in charge of promoting energy efficiency, competitiveness and environmental and social sustainability.

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