In the absence of comprehensive federal climate policy, the task of climate change mitigation and adaptation will fall to a variety of actors, including homeowners, who can install energy-saving retrofits and take steps to reduce risk of losses from natural disasters. Importantly, the fundamental attributes of retrofit initiatives to reduce loss from climate change and weather events are similar to the attributes of increased energy efficiency retrofits. But the promotional language and incentive structures of energy efficiency initiatives and those of risk-reduction initiatives differ, suggesting a natural experiment that has been replicated through the recent proliferation of retrofit programs. This essay in Innovations in Home Energy: A Sourcebook for Behavior Change explores insights from this experiment for homeowner response well beyond the single-program or single-objective evaluations conducted in the past. These insights can inform complex trade-offs among adaptation and mitigation options as well as facilitate “future proofing”—activities that reduce risk associated with a host of possible future scenarios.
Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions