Study Shows Residents Use 30% More Energy When Owners Pay the Bills

File this under the category, “Studies that prove what we already knew”:

WegoWise, a building intelligence provider, has unveiled a utility bill study that for the first time demonstrates how incentive structures can make a substantial impact on building efficiency. The study found that multifamily buildings where owners pay utility bills use approximately 30 percent more energy (BTUs) per square foot than buildings where tenants pay utility bills. Additionally, the study found that annual utility costs for buildings with owner-paid bills are 20 percent higher than tenant-paid bills.

“The building efficiency space has long been dogged by the ‘split incentive’ issue, whereby only those who pay the energy bill are motivated to change behavior or invest in building upgrades,” said Eric Bloom, senior research analyst at Navigant Research. “For years, upgrades have been seen as the smartest investment for owners because they deliver reliable returns and increase value. However, the WegoWise study reveals that incentives that motivate behavioral changes can play a significant role in cracking the efficiency puzzle. Understanding these complexities will be increasingly important as the multifamily sector continues rapid growth.”

While it isn’t shocking that people use more energy when they don’t pay the bills, the sheer amount that they use is a bit of a shocker.