This Fact Sheet provides an overview of the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines project. The Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) are working with industry stakeholders to develop voluntary national guidelines that will improve the quality and consistency of commercial building workforce training and certification programs for five key energy-related jobs.
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The lack of empirical data on the energy performance of buildings is a key barrier to accelerating the energy efficiency retrofit market. The DOE’s Buildings Performance Database (BPD) helps address this gap by allowing users to perform exploratory analyses on an anonymous dataset of hundreds of thousands of commercial and residential buildings. These analyses enable market actors to assess energy efficiency opportunities, forecast project performance, and quantify performance risk using empirical building data. In this paper, we describe the process of collecting and preparing data for the database, and present a peer-group analysis tool that allows users to analyze building performance for narrowly defined subsets of the database, or peer groups. We use this tool to explore a case study of a multifamily portfolio owner comparing his buildings’ performance to the peer group of multifamily buildings in the local metro area. We also present a performance comparison tool that uses statistical methods to estimate the expected change in energy performance due to changes in building-component technologies. We demonstrate a low-effort retrofit analysis, providing a probabilistic estimate of energy savings for a sample building retrofit. The key advantages of this approach compared to conventional engineering models are that it provides probabilistic risk analysis based on actual
measured data and can significantly reduce transaction costs for predicting savings across a portfolio.
While the availability of “big data” about building energy performance is increasing in response to market demands and public policies, the lack of standard data formats is a significant ongoing barrier to its full utilization. To overcome this barrier, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) developed the Building Energy Data Exchange Specification (BEDES).
BEDES is designed to enable the exchange, comparison, and combination of empirical information by providing common terms and definitions for data about commercial and residential building’s physical and operational characteristics, energy use, and efficiency measures.
This paper describes the BEDES development process, scope, structure, and plans for implementation and ongoing updates.
The Smart Monitoring and Diagnostic System (SMDS) is a low-cost technology that helps building owners and managers keep rooftop air conditioner and heat pump units (RTUs) operating properly at peak efficiency. The SMDS technology has the potential to significantly benefit small commercial buildings, which predominately use RTUs for space conditioning. Through the Better Buildings Alliance, a field demonstration was conducted at four sites using two SMDS prototypes. This case study provides a summary of the field demonstration results.
The full report is available at: https://buildingdata.energy.gov/cbrd/resource/1927
This case study details the very successful Walgreens proactive RTU replacement program that has resulted in 50% efficiency improvements. The streamlined process allows Walgreens to reduce installed cooling capacity, increase RTU efficiency, provide improved service, and reduce overall costs compared to emergency replacements.
7x7x7: Design Energy Water is an innovative program by the Division of the State Architect that encouraged California school districts to develop long-range master plans that reduce energy and water consumption on campuses and improve the quality of educational spaces. The State Architect engages seven architectural firms to develop seven conceptual case studies that reduce school energy and water consumption and result in better learning environments on seven different types of campuses (six K-12 schools and a community college). The seven campuses are representative of typical building types from different eras constructed across California’s varied climate zones. The purpose and primary goal of this program is to enable all existing K-14 facilities to be zero energy by 2030.
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technology Office (DOE’s BTO), with help from the Better Buildings Alliance (BBA) members, developed a specification (RTU Challenge) for high performance rooftop air-conditioning units (RTUs) with capacity ranges between 10 and 20 tons. Daikin’s Rebel RTU was recognized by DOE in May 2012 as the first to meet the RTU Challenge specifications. A study was commissioned to compare the Rebel unit with a standard reference unit in the field. The goal of the RTU Challenge demonstration was to estimate seasonal performance of the RTU Challenge unit and the annual savings that can be achieved by installing the Rebel unit instead of an alternate standard unit. This case study details this demonstration.
The UAC Cost Estimator provides an alternative to complicated building simulation models, while offering more detail than simplified estimating tools that are commonly available. The estimator accounts for local climate and partial-load, as well as full-load efficiencies. It also helps building owners and operators as they purchase or replace packaged rooftop air conditioning equipment by estimating a product's lifetime energy cost savings at various efficiency levels.
The Rooftop Unit Comparison Calculator (RTUCC) compares high-efficiency rooftop air conditioners to standard equipment in terms of life cycle cost. This web application provides an alternative to complicated building simulation models, while offering more detail than simplified estimating tools that are commonly available. While simplified tools are typically based on full-load efficiencies and full-load equivalent operating hours, the RTUCC accounts for local climate and partial-load, as well as full-load efficiencies.
To maximize the benefits of converting to light-emitting diode (LED) technology from the traditional high-intensity discharge (HID) technology used in most parking lot lighting, CBEA members developed a performance specificationPDF that should be applied to a specific site, rather than a specific product.