A Common Language for Building Energy Performance

Nov. 24, 2015

How this dictionary for data changes the way we discuss energy.

The amount of building performance data has grown exponentially over the past few years thanks to increased demand for information on resource consumption and public policies encouraging transparency.

However, different data repositories frequently use a variety of terms, definitions and formats, making it tough to compare subsets of facilities across various jurisdictions and building technologies. A new “dictionary of data” developed by the DOE and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is aimed at changing that.

The Building Energy Data Exchange Specification, or BEDES (pronounced “beads”), contains a standardized set of common energy terms and definitions. When two differing data repositories map their data to the BEDES specification, they can speak the same language, allowing users to more easily compare or exchange information between the two.

“As more applications adopt BEDES, more bridges are created, increasing the number of market actors able to share and exchange data with relatively low transaction costs,” the DOE noted in a statement. “The end result is clear: with more bridges in the mix, new opportunities open up for big data solutions to be examined and pursued, increasing both the amount and richness of information available to support decision making.”

The DOE’s Building Performance Database and Standard Energy Efficiency Data Platform are both compliant with the specification already, making it easier for facilities professionals to compare data between them. ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager and the Building Performance Institute’s Home Performance XML standard have also mapped to BEDES’ terms and definitions.

Several other large databases, including the New York Power Authority, the DOE’s Building Energy Asset Score, and ASHRAE’s SPC 211, are in the process of establishing compliance.

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