The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in conjunction with three of its national laboratories, developed commercial reference buildings, formerly known as commercial building benchmark models. These reference buildings play a critical role in the program's energy modeling software research by providing complete descriptions for whole building energy analysis using EnergyPlus simulation software.
There are 16 building types that represent approximately 70% of the commercial buildings in the U.S., according to the report published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory titled U.S. Department of Energy Commercial Reference Building Models of the National Building Stock. These modules provide a consistent baseline of comparison and improve the value of computer energy simulations using software such as EnergyPlus.
Available Reference Buildings
Commercial reference building models are available for the following categories:
- New construction
- Existing buildings constructed in or after 1980 ("post-1980")
- Existing buildings constructed before 1980 ("pre-1980")
Building Type and Climate Zone
DOE developed 16 reference building types that represent most commercial buildings across 16 locations, which represent all U.S. climate zones.
|Building Type Name||Floor Area (ft2)||Number of Floors|
|Quick Service Restaurant||2,500||1|
|Full Service Restaurant||5,500||1|
|Outpatient Health Care||40,946||3|
The 16 climate zones used to create the reference buildings are:
|Climate Zone||Representative City|
|3B-Coast||Los Angeles, California|
|3B||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|3C||San Francisco, California|
|4B||Albuquerque, New Mexico|
Please send all questions and comments regarding the reference buildings to firstname.lastname@example.org.