Open data has fueled entrepreneurship and transformed business in industries such as weather, GPS and health. However, the lack of empirical data demonstrating the relationship between building characteristics and energy performance is one of the primary barriers in the energy efficiency market. Recent advances in technology such as smart meters, and market and policy drivers such as building performance reporting and transparency programs, increasingly generate building and energy performance data. However, this data is hard to aggregate and analyze because it is in many decentralized databases. The DOE Building Performance Database (BPD) aspires to build the type of large, aggregate dataset required to analyze drivers of building performance in specific real estate sectors and local markets, and understand the relative impacts of different technologies and operational variables.
Who benefits from the BPD?
Homeowners, Commercial Building Owners and Managers
The Building Performance Database helps owners and managers understand efficiency opportunities with lower upfront effort. The BPD can help identify whether a building is a relatively high or low performer relative to similar buildings, and the order-of-magnitude potential for savings from specific measures.
Federal, State and Local Governments
Government agencies often own their buildings and therefore can utilize the BPD in the same ways that private building owners and managers do. In addition, governments can maximize the value of data that is already being collected for various programs by anonymously publishing detailed information through the BPD. This helps increase knowledge about local real estate markets, identify the most common energy efficiency opportunities in the local building stock, and enable comparisons to other jurisdictions and to the national dataset.
Energy Efficiency Contractors
Efficiency product and service providers can use the BPD to target marketing efforts to assess efficiency potential within building types, and support analyses conducted for clients. As the BPD continues to grow and its analytical capabilities become more robust, it can also help contractors offer competitive pricing to break into new markets, or expand the types of energy conservation measures typically implemented.
Utilities and Energy Efficiency Program Administrators
A critical mass of information about the local building stock can inform program design by target offerings to the types of buildings and efficiency measures that show the greatest potential. In the future, efficiency programs could improve the rigor and reduce the cost of measurement and verification through developing custom interfaces using the API to measure project savings and conduct savings uncertainty and persistence analyses.
Lenders and Financial Institutions
Ultimately the goal of the BPD is to increase investor confidence in returns by using a critical mass of real building data to understand the range of performance among groups of buildings, while controlling for many variables. This gives a much more helpful basis for decision-making than single point estimates generated by audits and simulations because it enables investors to conduct performance risk analysis.
HOW CAN YOU IMPROVE THE BPD?
Contribute data. BPD aims to be a seminal resource that informs and supports decision-making and investment across the energy efficiency landscape. But the value of the BPD depends on the quantity and depth of data it contains. More data will enable analysis of more retrofit measures, building types and locations, expand the uses and applications, and continue to increase the value and quality of the BPD.
The DOE is continually looking for data contributions, and new datasets are being added regularly. To date, we have received data contributions from dozens of exemplary industry leaders including Federal agencies, state and local governments, energy efficiency programs, real estate owners and private businesses. If you are interested in contributing data, please visit the Contributing Data page.
Integrate the BPD into your products and services. The BPD features an application programming interface, which enables external software tools to run analytical queries on the dataset and incorporate the results into their own products. Visit the Developers' Page to learn more.
Data Contribution Best Practices
BPD Priority Fields List
BPD Data Preparation Process
BPD Privacy Terms
Getting Real with Energy Data: Using the Buildings Performance Database to Support Data-Driven Analyses and Decision-Making
Big Data Analytics in the Buildings Industry (ASHRAE Journal, July 2016, pg. 38)
For more information on the Building Performance Database, please contact BPD@ee.doe.gov.