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All-consuming energy: what is driving the growing use of consumer electronics, and what does that mean for energy policy?

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The amount of electricity Canadian households use to power a growing array of consumer electronics has increased dramatically. This Capstone asks what the Canadian government can do to contain that growth. I use econometric analysis of microdata from Statistics Canada to identify factors that drive the acquisition and use of electronics. I find that income, education, age and a propensity to engage in certain energy-saving behaviours are related to the numbers of electronics per household, or to the hours those electronics are turned on. I find no evidence that electricity price has an impact on acquisition or use. Drawing from that analysis, I consider three policy options: efficiency regulations, an efficiency tax, and a marketing campaign aimed at youths. I conclude that efficiency regulations are the best option, although none of the proposals can be expected to halt the growth of electricity consumption by consumer electronics in the short term.
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