A well-insulated home with efficient appliances can feel more comfortable and save residents money on their utility bills.
“Energy efficiency is particularly important for renters because renters tend to have lower incomes than owners,” says Reuven Sussman of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
He says despite the benefits, most rental listings do not include information about efficiency.
So Sussman’s team created a mock rental listings website to determine if providing this information prompted people to choose more efficient homes.
“And we actually saw that the behavior did change,” he says.
But the information had to be provided in context. His team found that renters needed to know how efficient a house or apartment is compared to others in the area, for example, by seeing how the listing ranks on a scale of one to 10.
And efficiency data had to be provided on all listings.
So he says to be effective, efficiency labeling must be required.
“If you’re going to start a labeling policy, maybe start with a voluntary one, but don’t let that be the ultimate goal,” he says. “Eventually we’d like to see people moving towards mandatory policies where all buildings are labeled, and that’s definitely going to help us see some behavior change.”
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media