Energy efficiency is the adoption of a set of actions and measures that reduce energy consumption and the pollution associated with it, without affecting the quality of life of households. Energy efficiency is essential to tackle the problems associated with the excessive use of fuels derived from wood, such as deforestation, air pollution and energy poverty.

Since 2000, different regulations and subsidies have been implemented in Chile which focus on (1) improving biomass combustion technologies or implementing other heating systems, (2) ensuring the commercialization of dry firewood and (3) performing thermal retrofit in houses through subsidies that target the most vulnerable socioeconomic sectors of the country. This set of measures, however, has not had the expected effect, since air pollution in the cities of southern Chile has continued to increase year after year.

In this context, it is important to analyze why these measures have not worked as expected, and what elements are key when developing public policy strategies. Therefore, this line of research studies the technological dimension of residential energy consumption, especially with regard to heating systems and the thermal performance of houses in southern Chile.

Figure 1: Air pollution exacerbated by the heating system and poor thermal performance of the house.
Source: Reyes et al. (2018)

Reyes, R., Schueftan, A., Ruiz, C. 2018. Control de la contaminación atmosférica en un contexto de pobreza de energía en el sur de Chile: Los efectos no deseados de la política de descontaminación. En: Informes técnicos BES, Bosques – Energía – Sociedad, Año 4. N° 9. Marzo 2018. Observatorio de los Combustibles Derivados de la Madera OCDM. Instituto Forestal, Chile. p. 22.

Energy Poverty

State where households have difficulty accessing clean energy sources

Ecosystems and effects

Relation between the use of energy and the environment

Energy Efficiency

Strategies and technologies for efficient use of energy

Energy consumption

Evolution of energy consumption over time