NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Fiona Burlig

Harris School of Public Policy
University of Chicago
1307 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
Tel: 650/283-2931

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NBER Program Affiliations: EEE
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: University of Chicago

NBER Working Papers and Publications

October 2017Machine Learning from Schools about Energy Efficiency
with Christopher Knittel, David Rapson, Mar Reguant, Catherine Wolfram: w23908
In the United States, consumers invest billions of dollars annually in energy efficiency, often on the assumption that these investments will pay for themselves via future energy cost reductions. We study energy efficiency upgrades in K-12 schools in California. We develop and implement a novel machine learning approach for estimating treatment effects using high-frequency panel data, and demonstrate that this method outperforms standard panel fixed effects approaches. We find that energy efficiency upgrades reduce electricity consumption by 3 percent, but that these reductions total only 24 percent of ex ante expected savings. HVAC and lighting upgrades perform better, but still deliver less than half of what was expected. Finally, beyond location, school characteristics that are readily ...
 
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