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.
This article appears in the July 2016 issue of the ASHRAE Journal (pgs. 38-45). Brief summary:
The U.S. Department of Energy's Building Performance Database (BPD) is the largest publicly available data source for energy-related characteristics of commercial and residential buildings in the United States, collected from federal, state, and local governments, utilities, and private companies. The BPD provides anonymized building energy use and asset data with analytical capabilities to help energy service providers, real estate owners and managers, policy makers, and energy consultants make decisions about energy efficiency and retrofit projects.
This article examines some of the promises and perils of having large amounts of building data at the user's fingertips and how to use such data and statistical analysis tools effectively to support decision-making by energy professionals.
A net zero-energy community (ZEC) is one that has greatly reduced energy needs through efficiency gains such that the balance of energy for vehicles, thermal, and electrical energy within the community is met by renewable energy. Past work resulted in a common zero-energy building (ZEB) definition system of “zero energy” and a classification system for ZEBs based on the renewable energy sources used by a building. This paper begins with a focus solely on buildings and expands the concept to define a zero-energy community, applying the ZEB hierarchical renewable classification system to the concept of community. A community that offsets all of its energy use from renewables available within the community’s built environment and unusable brownfield sites is at the top of the ZEC classification system at a ZEC of A. (A brownfield site is where the redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.) A community that achieves a ZEC definition primarily through the purchase of new off-site, Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) is placed at the lowest end of the ZEC classification but is still considered a good achievement.
A solar ready building is engineered and designed for solar installation, even if the solar installation does not happen at the time of construction. The solar ready design features, if considered early in the design process, are typically low or no cost. Attention to building orientation, available roof space, roof type, and other features is key to designing solar ready buildings.
This multimedia toolkit is designed to guide energy efficiency program administrators through the process of planning, implementing and measuring a large-scale, deep retrofit energy efficiency program for small-to-medium businesses (SMB). We provide downloadable tools and forms you can adapt for use in your own program.
This guidebook is a reference to help other program sponsors and implementers develop and deliver a full-scale and comprehensive small-to-medium-sized business (SMB) energy efficiency program that can achieve similar results. The online SMART Scale Toolkit accompanies this guidebook.
A demonstration of the SMART Scale model in the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) on over 700 projects indicates that an average whole building electricity savings of 20% from the baseline is possible while remaining cost-effective, with a cost of $0.0346 per lifetime kWh and an estimated total resource cost of 3.1. Previous generations of DI programs were capturing only 10% to 12% of whole building electricity savings through approaches dominated by lighting measures.
Designed as a resource for those who want to develop community solar projects, from community organizers or solar energy advocates to government officials or utility managers. By exploring
the range of incentives and policies while providing examples of operational community solar projects, this guide will help communities to plan and implement successful local energy projects. In addition, by highlighting some of the policy best practices, this guide suggests changes in the regulatory landscape that could significantly boost community solar installations across the country.