Building Energy Data Exchange Specification (BEDES)

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Graphic with an open laptop and lines pointing in three directions: Residential, commercial and multifamily sectors; activity areas, equipment and operational characteristics; project, building campus, or program-level information


The Building Energy Data Exchange Specification (BEDES, pronounced "beads" or /bi:ds/) is a dictionary of terms, definitions, and field formats which was created to help facilitate the exchange of information on building characteristics and energy use. It is intended to be used in tools and activities that help stakeholders make energy investment decisions, track building performance, and implement energy efficient policies and programs.

The Department of Energy has already begun to utilize the BEDES data dictionary in its array of publicly available building energy efficiency tools. The dictionary can also be used by private-sector software tools and databases. As the number of public and private tools that utilize BEDES grows, they will contribute to an interoperable ecosystem of software that lowers the cost in time and money currently involved in sharing and aggregating data. This also increases the availability of products and services that utilize energy data, allowing them to achieve greater market penetration and deliver better information to decision-makers.

BEDES is not a software tool, database or schema. It is a dictionary that provides common terms and definitions which different tools, databases and data formats can share.

View BEDES Dictionary

One of the primary challenges to expanding the building energy efficiency retrofit market is the lack of empirical data on the energy performance and physical and operational characteristics of commercial, multifamily, and residential buildings. This makes it difficult for building-level decision-makers to understand the drivers of variations in building performance, identify efficiency investment opportunities, and project the likely savings from investments. Moreover, the lack of empirical market data limits the ability of public sector actors to tailor the design and implementation of energy efficiency programs and policies to be most effective given local market conditions and trends.

Recent technology, market and policy drivers (smart meters, energy performance disclosure laws, etc.) are resulting in a rapid increase in generation of data about buildings and their energy performance. But this data is still hard to access, aggregate, share, and utilize because it is being housed in many decentralized databases, and in different formats. In other words, the lack of common terms, definitions and exchange protocols is a significant ongoing barrier to realizing the full value of building performance data.

Use Cases

While many potential uses exist for building energy performance data, three priority use cases for BEDES have been identified. Each involves the same stakeholders and requires using the same information at a similar level of granularity.

    Owners and managers use building energy performance information to assess capital and operational opportunities in individual buildings, develop energy strategies across portfolios, and identify trends in local real estate markets.
    The implementation of disclosure policies for public or private buildings requires public officials to collect, clean and analyze massive amounts of data, then share portions of it with the public.
    Energy efficiency programs often provide incentives or technical assistance to support owners' data collection and analysis activities. They also use data to conduct program design and outreach, track project performance, and evaluate programs.
Get Started

There are many ways that you can get involved in the BEDES project:

  • Use BEDES in your products and business processes. Software developers and other entities that collect or distribute building energy performance data can either adopt an existing schema that uses BEDES terms, or develop their own. BEDES compliant products can be recognized by DOE on the web site and in communications materials, and featured in events, conferences, press releases, success stories, etc.

    The BEDES team can provide limited assistance to answer questions, provide guidance and check compliance.  If you have questions about using BEDES in your product or process, please email
  • Contribute to the future evolution of the BEDES Dictionary and keep abreast of the latest developments by joining the BEDES Working Group. BEDES would not exist without the expertise and input of Working Group members. As a member, you can not only help with updating the current BEDES dictionary, but also contribute to future strategic planning for the BEDES project.
  • Finally, spread the message about BEDES – on your website, in presentations or elsewhere.

Learn more about these options and get involved on the BEDES technical website.