This paper explores how changes in regulatory requirements for energy efficiency in buildings (in the US also known as building energy codes) affect household energy consumption. The focus in this paper is on natural gas consumption by Danish single-family owner-occupied houses. Unlike most other papers investigating household energy consumption this paper uses a unique panel data set constructed by merging several administrative data bases. The data set describes house and household characteristics, outdoor temperature and actual metered natural gas consumption over 6 years (1998-2003). Applying advanced econometric methods we examine differences in heating energy consumption due to different building regulation requirements at the time of house construction.
As for the effect of the building regulation, we find that changes in Danish building regulations have led to significant reductions in energy used for heating. The latest revision of the Danish building regulation covered by this paper is that of 1998. This revision has resulted in a 7% reduction in natural gas consumption.