The impact of energy audits on energy efficiency investment of public owners. Evidence from Italy

Gianpaolo Barbetta, Paolo Canino, Stefano Cima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Buildings are a promising area of energy savings, but a difference exists between actual and optimal investment in this field. The so called ‘information gap’ about the costs and benefits of energy-saving activities could explain the difference. Audit programs have been undertaken to overcome the ‘information gap’ but, surprisingly, most papers analyzing the impact of audits on the adoption of energysaving measures use faulty methods that could provide biased results. In this paper we fill this gap of the energy literature. First, we introduce robust counterfactual methods to analyze the impact of energy-saving policies; second, we apply these methods to investigate the impact of the free-funding of audits on the energy-saving investments of local public administrations, a neglected area of investigation. As opposite to most of the literature, we cannot identify any statistically significant effect of the audits either on the number of energy-saving interventions or on the resources devoted to these activities by local public administrations. We believe that, in the field of public non-residential buildings, information is not sufficient to fostering public investments aimed at increasing energy efficiency. As a policy consequence, public resources should consider different tools, including those aimed at reducing the cost of investments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1199-1209
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Energy audits
  • Policy impact
  • Policy instruments


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