Who's Your Agent? Quantifying Energy Affected by the Principal-Agent Barrier in U.S. Households

May 9, 2006 - 12:00pm
Bldg. 90

This presentation describes a recent study assessing the magnitude of principal-agent (PA) problems in the U.S. residential sector, which found that over half of the energy consumed by four major end uses is affected by PA problems. This problem is often cited as one of the main barriers to greater energy efficiency. It may arise when an agent buys a piece of equipment that has lower initial costs but is more expensive over its lifetime because the agent saves money on the initial cost while the principal pays the operating costs.  In the residential sector, PA problems often exist between renters and landlords. The renter pays the landlord (agent) for the use of the apartment and any included furniture and appliances. The renters would prefer to have efficient appliances that produce lower utility costs, but their agents, the landlords, are more concerned with initial costs since they do not incur the expense of running the appliances. PA problems may also occur for occupant-owned houses that have appliances pre-installed by the builders.  The authors used a novel approach to estimating the energy consumption affected. For any given technology, determining the cases involving a PA problem may be conceptualized as a two-by-two matrix that classifies the technology according to user's ability to choose the technology and the user's responsibility for paying associated energy costs. Detailed data from the American Housing Survey and the Residential Energy Consumption Survey to group households according to their PA classification for refrigerators, water heating, space heating, and lighting.

Add event to Google Calendar

Announcement List

To be added to our seminar annoucement list please, email ETA Seminars. Seminars may change without notice, stay informed by joining our seminar email list. 

Site Access

For site access please email your request to ETA Seminars. To arrive at Building 90 via the LBNL shuttle, take "Blue Uphill". Click here for the shuttle schedule. To ensure your site access is set-up send your request 36 hours in advance of the seminar.

Remote Access

Not able to attend in person? Remote participants can use ReadyTalk Audio & Net conference to phone in to listen, while viewing the presentation via the ReadyTalk site.

Web Access Code: 4864835

USA & Canada call-in number:
1 (866) 740-1260
Access Code: 4864835#

International callers:
Please visit this website to see if a toll-free call-in number is available for your international location.

If not, you will need to pay for the call yourself and use this phone number:

(303) 248-0285.