EnergyIQ: Action-oriented Benchmarking

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Energy benchmarking provides an energy use comparison on the energy efficiency of particular buildings to those of other buildings. Buildings’ aspects such as size, climate zone location, construction features, equipment, occupancy, and function can be used to normalize performance for a more meaningful analysis. Benchmarking may inspire actions such as weatherstripping and installing insulation, but generally provides no direct guidance on how to improve efficiency. The goal of EnergyIQ was to move beyond simple energy comparisons to provide practical guidance on the most promising potential efficiency improvements. The project was conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) with funding from the California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program. The first phase of the project began in 2007. The software developed in Phase 1 became the first ʺaction‐orientedʺ benchmarking tool for nonresidential buildings. ʺAction‐orientedʺ benchmarking has the added capability of providing direct guidance on how to improve efficiency. The Internet‐based tool provided a benchmarking interface to the Commercial End‐Use Survey (CEUS) database. This database provides details on energy use and characteristics for about 2,800 buildings and 62 building types and is probably the most thorough survey of its kind ever conducted. The initial software development demonstrated the potential value of actionoriented benchmarking, but further steps were identified to provide a fully functioning and useful tool. These included:

  • Capability to assess a building’s energy use based on benchmarking results.
  • Decision‐support information to help define and refine potential corrective actions.
  • A more user‐friendly interface to allow for different levels of building complexity.
  • Wide‐scale outreach and training.

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