Home improvement can be expensive. The good news is that many energy efficiency improvements quickly pay for themselves in energy savings. Having accurate and consistent performance and cost data for energy efficiency measures enables researchers and the building industry to determine the most cost-effective means of improving existing homes all across the nation.

The National Residential Efficiency Measures Database is a centralized resource of residential building retrofit measures and associated estimated costs for the U.S. building industry. Using this database, software developers and researchers can analyze the trade-offs associated with using various energy efficiency measures.

Developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the database collects and organizes real-world data into a single resource that is publically accessible. It is intended to provide consistent, vetted data for use in public- and private-sector residential energy audit software tools, as well as residential energy efficiency programs at all levels.

The data from the efficiency measures database is used in the Building Energy Optimization (BEopt) software.


The National Retrofit Measures Database offers the following benefits:

  • Provides information in a standardized format
  • Improves the technical consistency and accuracy of the results of software programs
  • Enables experts and stakeholders to view the retrofit information and provide comments to improve data quality
  • Supports building science R&D
  • Enhances transparency.

Measure and Cost Data

Data includes performance parameters for retrofit measure categories and a range of estimate costs that one might expect to find for the different measures. Measure categories include:

  • Appliances
  • Domestic hot water
  • Building enclosures (e.g, walls, windows, roofs)
  • HVAC
  • Lighting.

Full cost estimates are available for many different retrofit measures, and represent the total cost to implement each measure. For each measure, the database provides a range of costs, as the cost data for a measure can vary widely across regions, houses, and contractors. Climate, construction, home features, local economy, and geographic location all affect the actual cost to perform any of these measures.

The database is routinely updated to include new measures, add measure properties, and update or expand measure cost data. NREL encourages industry participation and contribution of data, which researchers will examine to provide input into the database and inform future research activities.

For more information, view the webinar, "National Residential Efficiency Measures Database Unveiled", for an overview of the database and information about upcoming enhancements.


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