The influence of energy audits on the energy efficiency investments of private owner-occupied households in the Netherlands
Energy audits are promoted as an effective tool to drive investment in energy efficiency measures in the residential sector. Despite operating in many countries for several decades details of the impact of audits are mixed. The aim of research presented here is to explore the role of audits on investment in energy efficiency measures by private owner-occupied householders in the Netherlands. Results showed that the main influence of the energy audit was to confirm information held by householders. A significant portion of audit recommendations was ignored, the main reason being that householders considered their dwellings to be adequately energy efficient. A comparison of audit recipients to non-recipients showed that audit recipients did not adopt, plan to adopt or invest in more energy efficiency measures than non-recipients. In fact non-recipients adopted more and invested more in measures. It is concluded that energy based renovation is driven by householder perception of comfort and acceptable outlay on energy bills and not necessarily to expert technical tailored information on the potential to reduce CO2 emissions and environmental impact. Results support arguments for minimum energy efficiency standards and performance based incentives.