Database Aids Building Owners and Operators in Energy-Efficiency Project Decision Making

Project Overview
Positive Impact: Provides access to empirical data on the actual energy performance, as well as physical and operational characteristics of commercial and residential buildings.
Locations: Nationwide
Partners: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Building Energy, Inc.
EERE Investment: $3.9 million over 3 years
Clean Energy Sector: Energy-saving homes, buildings, and manufacturingPDF

In June 2013, the Building Technologies Office launched the Buildings Performance Database (BPD). Currently, residential and commercial buildings account for approximately 70% of electricity consumption in the United States. One of the primary challenges to expanding the building energy-efficiency retrofit market is the lack of empirical data on building energy performance. This deficiency makes it difficult for building owners and managers to identify the best efficiency investment opportunities and limits the ability of public-sector actors to design and implement programs that are tailored to local market conditions and trends.

The BPD addresses this barrier by compiling the largest free, publicly-accessible database of residential and commercial building energy performance information. When the BPD was launched, it contained information for more than 65,000 commercial and residential buildings across the country, and new records are added regularly. Users can analyze trends in the characteristics and energy performance of similar buildings, discover opportunities for improvement, and forecast project performance and risk using statistical analyses. More than 4,000 users accessed the BPD in the first month since its launch.

Developed through the Building Technologies Office by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Building Energy, Inc., the database meets the usability needs of public agencies, building owners and managers, contractors, energy-efficiency program administrators, and financial institutions. The Building Technologies Office is conducting ongoing outreach to public and private organizations to contribute data. Collected data points include building location, age, size and function, electricity and fuel consumption, equipment information, and operational characteristics. Contributed datasets are reformatted, cleaned, and stripped of identifiable characteristics—leaving users with a large empirical dataset that can be used for a range of analyses.

The Buildings Technologies Office (BTO) leads a vast network of research and industry partners to continually develop innovative, cost-effective energy saving solutions—better products, better new homes, better ways to improve older homes, and better buildings in which we work, shop, and lead our everyday lives.

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