Measuring Energy Reduction for Common Efficiency Improvements

DATA & METHODS

Using data covering over 26,000 properties, the findings indicate that environmental certifications are associated with a reduction in energy consumption of approximately 8% on average, although the impacts of certification vary depending on certification level, program, and tenure.

With energy consumption in commercial real estate expected to increase 19.5% between 2019 and 2050 (EIA), it is important to determine which energy conservation measures (ECMs) are having the most significant impact on building energy performance. Using data from over 26,000 properties throughout the U.S., researchers Eichholtz, Holtermans, and Kok sought to determine whether and to what extent energy efficiency interventions – including environmental building certifications – are connected to lower energy consumption in commercial real estate.

RESULTS:

The research findings indicate that environmental certifications and other building-specific interventions correlate to an average reduction in energy consumption of approximately 8 to 11%. As shown in previous studies (Eichholtz, Kok and Quigley 2013, Devine and Kok 2015), there is some variation in the magnitude of green building benefits depending on certification level, program, and tenure. This study also shows that existing buildings that incorporate ECMs and undergo environmental certification can expect, on average, an additional 8% decrease in energy consumption after both interventions are complete.

While the validity of environmental certifications has often been questioned, the results of this research indicate that certified properties do achieve improved energy performance and certifications like LEED continue to demonstrate significant value for real estate owners, operators, and occupants. The findings also confirm the value of occupant engagement, particularly when combined with technical building improvements, and suggest that property owners, managers, and tenants should involve occupants in energy efficiency efforts to unlock greater energy savings.

To read more about the methodology and full results behind this research, click here.

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