RFF Initiative

Energy Efficiency Information: Closing the Energy Efficiency Gap

RFF researchers are looking at how information such as energy labels and energy use disclosure can help consumers make better investments in energy efficiency.

Improvements in energy efficiency often appear to pay for themselves in energy cost savings. However, people frequently fail to make such improvements—a phenomenon known as the “energy efficiency gap.” RFF researchers are exploring the role of information in explaining and overcoming the energy efficiency gap. Specifically, they are looking at energy labeling programs, green certifications, energy audits, and disclosure and benchmarking of buildings’ energy use to see whether and how information provision can lead to efficiency improvements.


Research on the following topics was supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

  • Understanding homeowner participation in and response to energy audits. Only about five percent of American homeowners have had a home energy audit and many of them have not followed through with the audit’s recommendations.
  • Assessing commercial and multi-family building energy benchmarking and disclosure programs. At least 10 cities and one county in the United States have adopted ordinances that require building owners to report their energy use and benchmark it relative to other buildings. Will these information disclosure programs change the rental and sales markets for such buildings and spur building owners to invest in energy efficiency improvements?