"Despite these promising results, the new paper does have its shortcomings, according to Margaret Walls of environmental nonprofit research group Resources for the Future, who was not involved with the research. The major issue with this type of study is that participation in the energy efficiency programs is voluntary, meaning there may be an inherent bias associated with the people who choose to sign up for them. 'The gold standard for identifying a true treatment effect from a policy is a randomized control trial; an untenable approach here because participation in the programs is not randomly assigned,' Walls wrote in a commentary on the new paper, also published Monday in Nature Energy." "And according to Walls, the researchers in this case have taken the next best possible approach with their strategy of comparing similar building types, which she argues can reduce — although likely not eliminate — the bias that results from voluntary participation in the efficiency programs. 'As such, although the richness of the data and the careful matching procedures give the results merit, the magnitudes of the effects should be treated cautiously,' she wrote in her commentary, but added that the researchers “have shed critical light on the achievements of voluntary energy labeling programs for this sector."
Trump Wants to Cut Programs That Help Buildings Save Energy. This New Study Says They Work.
Media Highlight from The Washington Post — March 27, 2017