Organizational Characteristics in Residential Rental Buildings: Exploring the Role of Centralization in Energy Outcomes

Part of the World Sustainability Series book series (WSUSE)


Organizational literature often points to decentralization as a driving force behind the success of organizations, but centralization can have benefits as well, particularly for energy efficiency initiatives in particular contexts. This paper conceptualizes the multifamily residential building as an organization, and posits that in large, multifamily rental properties a measure of centralization is helpful and even necessary for the effective management of energy conservation. This research relies on qualitative interviews, site visits, and publicly available energy data from a sample of New York City residential properties to examine the organizational characteristics that contribute to the building’s energy consumption. Findings indicate that certain organizational characteristics lend themselves to more centralized building management. These types of residential rental buildings, in turn, performed better than expected in annual energy consumption compared to other properties. This research carries important implications for social science and behavioral researchers, as well as building owner organizations and management firms, who can better craft programs and policies in buildings to capitalize on these organizational characteristics.


Energy consumption Residential buildings Organizations 



Portions of this abridged work were originally published in thesis form in fulfillment of the requirements of the author’s doctoral degree in 2015. Thanks to Drs. Clinton Andrews, Joseph Seneca, Rachael Shwom, and Richard Wener for their comments and input on earlier versions of this work. Funding provided to the author by the National Science Foundation through the IGERT program from 2011–2015 to undertake interdisciplinary energy-related doctoral research.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Technology & SocietyStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

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