The recent announcement the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) would not be releasing the results of the 2007 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) has prompted ASHRAE to take action.
The EIA declined to release the 2007 CBECS results— a national sample survey that collects information on the stock of U.S. commercial buildings, their energy-related characteristics, energy consumption and expenditures—and has suspended work on a 2011 Survey due to statistical issues and funding cuts, respectively.
“Information from CBECS plays a critical role in building energy efficiency through the many federal and private sector programs that use the Survey’s data in their efforts to establish benchmark levels and promote energy efficient practices, including ASHRAE’s Building Energy Quotient (Building eQ) program,” says Lynn G. Bellenger, P.E., ASHRAE president. “Additionally, many of ASHRAE's committees depend upon CBECS to help develop some of the standards in use by the federal government, states and local jurisdictions.”
ASHRAE has taken action, issuing a letter strongly urging Congress to include funding for CBECS in the Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations bills to allow work on the 2011 edition of the Survey to continue. This is particularly important in light of the 2007 CBECS data discrepancies.
The latest CBECS data is from 2003 - if funding is withheld, work on the 2011 CBECS data will not continue, and the government and industry will be forced to rely on data that is nearly a decade old and in need of revisions and enhancements.
Moving into a modern era of building efficiency and enegy use without current data could prove to be a daunting challenge, and ASHRAE looks to ensure that up-to-date information will become available.