The effectiveness of US energy efficiency building labels

Omar Isaac Asensio, Magali A. Delmas

Information programs are promising strategies to encourage investments in energy efficiency in commercial buildings. However, the realized effectiveness of these programs has not yet been estimated on a large scale. Here we take advantage of a large sample of monthly electricity consumption data for 178,777 commercial buildings in Los Angeles to analyse energy savings and emissions reductions from three major programs designed to encourage efficiency: the US Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program and the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Using matching techniques, we find energy savings that range from 18% to 30%, depending on the program. These savings represent a reduction of 210 million kilowatt-hours or 145 kilotons of CO2equivalent emissions per year. However, we also find that these programs do not substantially reduce emissions in small and medium sized buildings, which represent about two-thirds of commercial sector building emissions.

Published Work | 2017 | Nature Energy

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