My newest study is out, co-authored with Travis Gliedt of the University of Oklahoma. Please feel free to download it using this link until May 8th, 2015.
Title: Energy upgrades as financial or strategic investment? Energy Star property owners and managers improving building energy performance
Due to its significant carbon footprint and cost-effectiveness for upgrades, the commercial property sector is important for climate change mitigation. Although barriers to energy system changes, such as funding, financing and information, are well recognized, Energy Star property owners and managers are successfully overcoming these barriers and instigating energy efficiency upgrades, renewable energy installations, and behavior and management programs. To examine the decision-making process that leads to energy performance improvements, a national survey of property owners and management organizations of buildings that earned an Energy Star score of 75 or higher was conducted. The extent to which energy upgrades were considered strategic investments motivated by environmental sustainability or corporate social responsibility, or financial investments motivated by payback period or return-on-investment criteria, was contingent upon the property type and type of energy project. Environmental sustainability was found to be an important motivation for energy projects in office spaces in general, but in the case of smaller office spaces was often combined with motivations for corporate social responsibility. Energy projects on education properties were motivated by financial investment. Building envelope and mechanical efficiency upgrades were considered financial investments, while renewable energy, green roofs, and water conservation technologies were considered environmental sustainability initiatives.