Modeling the energy retrofit decision in commercial office buildings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Retrofitting existing buildings has emerged as a primary strategy for reducing energy use and carbon emissions, both nationally and in cities. Despite the increasing awareness of retrofitting opportunities and a growing portfolio of successful case studies, little is known about the decision-making processes of building owners and asset managers with respect to energy efficiency investments. Specifically, the research presented here examines the effects of ownership type, tenant demand, and real estate market location on building energy retrofit decisions in the commercial office sector. This paper uses an original, detailed survey of asset managers of 763 office buildings in nineteen cities sampled from the CBRE, Inc. portfolio. Controlling for various building characteristics, the results demonstrate that ownership type and local market do, in fact, influence the retrofit decision. Overall, this analysis provides new evidence for the importance of understanding ownership type and the varying motivations of differing types of owners in building energy efficiency investment decisions. The findings of both the survey analysis and the predictive model demonstrate additional support for the targeting of energy efficiency incentives and outreach based on ownership entity, local market conditions, and specific physical building characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalEnergy and Buildings
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Building energy efficiency
  • Commercial building sector
  • Energy data
  • Energy decision-making
  • Energy investment
  • Energy retrofit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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