Trends in Mandatory Municipal-Level Energy Benchmarking Policies for Large Commercial Buildings in the United States
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Mandatory municipal energy benchmarking for commercial buildings are a novel form of policy emerging across cities in the United States. These benchmarking policies require the owners of covered buildings to report on energy consumption to a targeted group of stakeholders with the goal of attaining a variety of benefits including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, more efficient real estate markets, and energy savings for rate-payers. Energy benchmarking policies are rooted in new governance literature in which non-state actors adopt some or all of the decision-making authority of government, and targeted information disclosure literature which seeks to stimulate specific policy outcomes by incorporating new information into the decision-making process of both the targeted company and information consumers. Early research on municipal energy benchmarking policies for commercial buildings has focused on the underlying reporting frameworks for benchmarking and minimal research has yet to examine the interplay between the many components of an energy benchmarking policy—everything from the size of building that is covered by the policy, to the disclosure trigger and penalty for non-compliance. The primary objective of this study is to assess whether the design of benchmarking policies conform to the expectations of new governance and targeted information disclosure theories. The principal approach employed within this thesis is that of comparative policy analysis with documentary analysis of seven active municipal benchmarking policies in the United States. This study concludes with an analysis of the gap between theory and practice, refinement of the theories that explain benchmarking, and highlighting of opportunities to improve the practice of early adopters. This study finds that while differences in design exist between the individual policies, energy benchmarking policies do largely align with the expectations of new governance and targeted information disclosure theories.
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Sean Campbell (2016). Trends in Mandatory Municipal-Level Energy Benchmarking Policies for Large Commercial Buildings in the United States. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/11080