Mandatory building energy audits in New York City lead to a modest reduction of energy use of 2.5% and 4.9% for multifamily and office buildings, respectively. This suggests that other approaches besides mandatory audit policies, such as building energy grading and carbon intensity targets, may be needed to achieve sustainability goals.
Messages for policy
Cities should consider a comprehensive strategy to support energy efficiency in the building sector that starts with a foundation of data transparency and evidence-based decision-making.
Energy disclosure mandates are an important first step: once data are available, buildings can be evaluated on their energy performance and compared to their peers.
Audit requirements should be used to target ‘deep’ retrofits, while automated or virtual audits could replace the existing need for traditional audit mandates.
Since audit policies generate substantial data on building systems and operating characteristics, mandatory audit requirements could be replaced by incentives for voluntarily reporting of audit data.
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This research was supported by National Science Foundation grant no. 1653773 and by the Sloan Foundation.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Kontokosta, C.E., Spiegel-Feld, D. & Papadopoulos, S. Mandatory building energy audits alone are insufficient to meet climate goals. Nat Energy 5, 282–283 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-020-0603-z