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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper

The Energy Costs of Historic Preservation


We explore the impact of historical preservation policies on domestic energy consumption. Using panel data for England from 2006 to 2013 and employing a fixed effects-strategy, we document that (i) rising national energy prices induce an increase in home energy efficiency installations and a corresponding reduction in energy consumption and (ii) this energy saving effect is significantly less pronounced in Conservation Areas and in places with high concentrations of Listed Buildings, where the adoption of energy efficiency installations is typically more costly and sometimes legally prevented altogether. Preservation policies increase private energy costs and the social cost of carbon per designated dwelling by around £8,000 and £2,550, respectively. These costs ought to be weighed against any benefits of preservation.


Christian A. L. Hilber, Charles Palmer and Edward W. Pinchbeck

26 July 2017     Paper Number SERCDP0217

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This SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper is published under the centre's Urban programme.