Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Linda Day


Energy benchmarking and disclosure policies exist in several local and state governments to manage the energy consumption of existing buildings and encourage energy efficient retrofits and upgrades, yet little is known about whether these efforts have improved overall energy efficiency. The purpose of this repeated-measures study was to examine the influence of New York City's (NYC's) Benchmarking Law (LL84) on the energy performance of the city's existing commercial buildings through investigating whether the energy performance of the city's existing commercial buildings significantly improved after the implementation of this policy. The study was based on Ostrom's institutional analysis and development framework. Paired-sample t tests were performed to statistically analyze the annually disclosed energy benchmarking data for 1,072 of NYC's existing commercial buildings that were benchmarked in both 2011 and 2016. Compared to 2011, the study results revealed statistically significant improvements in the energy performance of NYC's commercial buildings by 2016. On average, their site energy use intensity (EUI) significantly reduced by 5%, source EUI significantly decreased by 10%, greenhouse gas emissions significantly dropped by 12%, and ENERGY STAR performance rating significantly improved by 5%. However, these improvements were primarily achieved in 2012, 1 year after the city's energy benchmarking data were publicly disclosed. Additional measures should be considered to maintain continuous energy savings and greenhouse gas mitigation patterns. Positive social change implications include the potential to promote energy-efficient upgrades and inspire the adoption of sustainable building concepts.