(individual) Should we have laws that require homeowners to insulate in order to save energy?
- How will homeowners benefit from improved insulation? Should homeowners insulate if the cost to themselves of doing so exceeds the benefits to themselves?
They will pay less in heating costs. And generally homeowners should not insulate if the cost to themselves exceeds the benefits.
- How do others in a community benefit from the decision of some to insulate and thereby reduce their consumption of energy? Do these spillover benefits justify a subsidy to encourage homeowners to insulate? Who would lobby for such a subsidy?
Three possible benefits I can think of quickly. One is preventing blackouts when overall use reaches certain thresholds, increasing the cost to all consumers by exorbitant amounts. Another is preventing the use of emergency services due to extreme heat and cold, costs of which or more often born by local governments (and thus, the taxpayers of the community). Reducing overall energy use can also decrease fossil fuel emissions by power generators, reducing pollution. These spillover benefits might justify some subsidy. It depends on how much those benefits actually are worth.