Behavioral changes and reduced energy demand: A combination of the NATEM Energy Model and Consequential LCA


Marianne Pedinotti-Castelle (PhD student, civil and building engineering, USherbrooke)

Supervisor: Ben Amor

Co-supervisor: Pierre-Olivier Pineau


The starting point of this project relies on the observation that current policies fighting climate change fail to put Canada on a path compatible with the achievement of its targets (limiting global warming to 2°C by 2100). The planned measures today do not respond to the urgency of the situation: the considered technological solutions are insufficient, or too expensive, to lead an energy transition in due time. On the other hand, changes in human behaviour are poorly integrated into policies, even though they would reduce the cost of the transition. This research project assumes that rapid and consequent changes in behaviour (behavioural breakdowns) will be necessary for the energy transition, to bring human lifestyles back into balance with natural ecological cycles, the carbon one for instance.


This project aims to analyze behavioral breakdowns at several levels. For this, the main goal of this project is to develop a model that is both economic and environmental that will model the consequences of several scenarios of behavioral breakdowns.



Step 1: Scenarios and their modeling with NATEM Model

In order to model their consequences, behavioral changes scenarios are developed and modeled using the North American TIMES Energy Model (NATEM). NATEM is an economic partial equilibrium model (bottom-up type). These scenarios, both qualitative and quantitative, are obtained thanks to a forecast analysis of Quebec's energy demand by sector (housing, transportation, etc.). The defined new scenarios are then expressed by different parameters to be optimized in the NATEM model (demand change, vehicle or housing stocks changes, etc.). The goal of this step is to identify the consequences of behavioral factors on the Québec energy market by 2050.

Step 2: Linking the energy results to a consequential life cycle assessment

The results of the modelled scenarios with NATEM will be integrated into a LCA model, in order to assess their environmental consequences. The LCA will be consequential because it will analyze the environmental benefits of behavioural changes, by comparing the reference scenario with the other modelled scenarios.


Step 3: Uncertainty Analysis

The uncertainty and the robustness of the results obtained by the preceding stages will be tested, by carrying out an analysis of the uncertainties through a Monte-Carlo analysis.


This project explores the possibility of a total decarbonization of society as a whole, such as the Quebec Province, while trying to minimize the cost of the transition. This project aims to put in place plausible scenarios for reducing energy demand and aims to quantify the extent to which changes in human behaviour can have an impact on the energy transition of a region.

Industrial partner