The rationale for energy efficiency policy can be framed in terms of a variety of different benefits. This paper considers how different benefits have been used within the overall rationale for energy efficient retrofit policy in different contexts. We posit that different rationales may be used for the same policy response, and that the form of rationale used may affect the design, delivery or the level of policy support, with different rationales making it easier to account for different results. Considering retrofit policy in the contexts of the UK, Germany, New Zealand and Ireland, we characterise policy rationale in each case, assessing what the key perceived benefits have been, and whether they have changed over time. The analysis identifies some marked differences between cases with the recognition of benefits and the ensuing policy rationale resulting from a complex mix of political, social and economic influences. We find that recognition of multiple benefits may not equate with multiplied policy support, and instead it is more likely that different rationales will have relevance at different times, for different audiences. The findings highlight that, alongside evidence for policy, it is important to also consider how the overall rationale for policy is eventually framed.