A look at how commercial and institutional building energy use can be reduced by providing price signals.
If you work outside your home, chances are you don’t pay (directly) for the energy you use at work. At my place of work, the UC Berkeley campus, most employees never see – let alone pay – their energy bills.
Of course, there are plenty of pro-social reasons to be conscientious about my energy consumption at work (climate change and tight university budgets, to name a few). But these “split incentives” (i.e., the fact that I bear none of the costs when I increase campus energy use) beg the question: How much less energy would we use at work if we were all responsible for paying our own energy bills?
This seems like an important question when you consider the quantity of energy consumed each year by commercial buildings (which include office buildings, retail space, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, and universities). The commercial sector now accounts for over…
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