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Mandatory Building Energy Audits and Efficiency

Civic Analytics Program Director Constantine Kontokosta, along with Danielle Spiegel-Feld and Sokratis Papadopoulos of New York University, recently published an article titled “The impact of mandatory energy audits on building energy use” in the research journal Nature Energy. The article discusses the impact of Local Law 87 on building owners, which requires buildings to monitor their energy use.

The study seeks to inform urban energy-policy decisions by comparing energy use in properties that have performed a mandatory energy audit with those that have not in New York City. The researchers found that energy use fell by a modest 2.5% for multifamily residential buildings and 4.9% for office buildings as a result of the law, concluding that “mandatory audits, by themselves, create an insufficient incentive to invest in energy efficiency at the scale needed to meet citywide carbon-reduction goals.…In the context of a comprehensive data-driven energy policy, audit requirements can be used to target ‘deep‘ retrofits, while automated or virtual audits could replace the existing need for traditional audit mandates.” 


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