A Multi-Level Policy Mix Analysis on Energy Efficiency Policies Impacting Buildings in Toronto and Calgary
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Strengthening energy efficiency is a quick and cost-effective strategy for reducing energy use in the buildings sector, which accounts for 17% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. Public policies are a crucial tool for stimulating energy efficiency improvements in buildings. This paper performs and discusses the findings of a multi-level policy mix analysis on the mix of municipal, provincial, and federal energy efficiency policies that impact buildings in the Canadian cities of Toronto and Calgary. Toronto and Calgary are selected for analysis due to its large population size, building count, greenhouse gas emissions, and operating and capital budgets. A policy mix analysis examines the interactions between policy instruments and is premised on the idea that individual policies do not exist in isolation, rather, policies interact with other policies (in policy mixes) to produce cumulative outcomes and to change individual policy outcomes. This paper seeks to determine policy mix effectiveness, which is defined by how optimized a policy mix composition is in reducing greenhouse gas emissions of buildings through energy efficiency improvements. Using an original dataset of 91 energy efficiency policies, 16 different types of interactions between these policies are analyzed and discussed. These interactions are evaluated based on 10 different policy characteristics that is identified for each policy: target consumer decision-making process component, policy time horizon, policy instrument sub-type, policy regime creation or destruction, policy flexibility, target building sector, target innovation phase, target actor, target building type, and building energy efficiency exclusivity of policy. The composition of policies with different characteristics within policy mixes are indicators of policy mix effectiveness. This study found that the policy mixes of Toronto and Calgary have similar compositions and that, encouragingly, the policy mixes examined mostly have a comprehensive composition of policy instrument elements. However, the results also demonstrated that policy mix effectiveness could be improved by increasing policy efforts that weaken the viability and appeal of technologies of lower energy efficiency levels to create opportunities for technologies and practices of improved energy efficiency to emerge. Policy mix effectiveness could also be strengthened by increasing policy efforts towards ensuring the correct use of energy efficiency technologies; enhancing the clarity of and commitment towards policy direction through increasing the use of explicit policy milestones; adjusting policy mixes to better address contextual realities such as the role of existing buildings in future greenhouse gas emission reductions; and reducing the scope of policy instruments to achieve specific rather than broad objectives.