UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Building performance benchmarking data for residential condominium buyers Theaker, Ian G.


Growing concern with energy and climate issues has lead many jurisdictions globally to enact building performance benchmarking and transparency regulations to transform real estate markets. But market transformation success depends greatly on the choice, timing and display of information presented to keystone market actors. This thesis assesses what, when and how benchmarked building performance data could inform and support search and purchase decisions by Canadian condominium homebuyers. A preliminary survey of European and North American building benchmarking regulations guided a broad review of market transformation, behavioral economics and decision psychology theory. A generic home search and purchase process, refined by realtor interviews in “hot” Vancouver and Toronto condominium markets, identified market actors, decisions, and information sources. An online survey and telephone interviews elicited the desires, preferences, knowledge and information sources of active condominium homebuyers in Toronto. Qualitative analysis of thirty-three surveys and interviews with eight respondents revealed strong latent demand for building performance energy cost and consumption information, and that many would also value information on greenhouse gas emissions. Multiple listing services and realtors were found to be buyer’s most-used sources for real estate information. While a few saw reputational risks from public data on household energy and emissions, others believed that it would provide personal and societal benefits. Annotated performance data graphics in the survey had little influence on buyer preferences at key search and purchase process stages. This research indicates that real estate market transformation success through public transparency of benchmarked performance data is likely to depend on: • legislative language that explicitly establishes improved energy, cost and climate performance as primary policy goals, and identifies market transformation as a key strategy and homebuyers as essential targets for benchmarked performance data, • collaboratively developing standard benchmarking performance metrics and calculation protocols suited to both policy goals and decision needs of homebuyers and other key market actors, • research on how MLS web portals can graphically display benchmarked performance data to effectively inform homebuyers’ search and purchase decisions, and • requiring real estate advertising, particularly MLS listings, to display standard benchmarked energy cost and emissions performance metrics and graphics.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International