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Effectiveness of energy audits in small business organizations

: Schleich, Joachim; Fleiter, Tobias


Resource and energy economics 56 (2019), pp.59-70
ISSN: 0928-7655
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()
energy audit; policy evaluation; matching estimators; energy efficiency; adoption

Energy audits for business organizations have been promoted for more than four decades, but no evaluation based on the counterfactual behaviour of a comparable large control group has yet been carried out. Seeking to close this gap, this paper analyses the effect of a German energy audit programme involving more than 1400 small manufacturing and non-manufacturing organizations. The control group observations were drawn from a parallel study involving more than 2000 organizations. Limiting the sample to business organizations with at most 50 employees, the study employs coarsened exact matching, and-as a robustness check-conventional propensity scores as well as distance-based matching to estimate the effectiveness of simple and detailed audits on the adoption of four ancillary energy efficiency measures. The findings suggest that both types of audits spur the adoption of lighting, insulation, heating systems, and operational measures to improve heating systems (operations) by between 10 and 20 percentage points. Audit effectiveness was highest for insulation measures and operations. In addition, the findings suggest a positive but diminishing interaction between audit effectiveness and organization size for lighting, insulation and operations. These results are robust across alternative matching.