Is That Project Worth the Cost?

June 17, 2013
Compare project suitability and building performance with a new DOE tool.

If you’re not quite sure whether a potential efficiency project strikes the right balance between cost and benefit, ask a colleague – or 60,000 of them.

The free Buildings Performance Database, a new tool from the Department of Energy, aggregates data on real performance (not modeled) and building features from tens of thousands of buildings across the U.S. It allows users to compare and graph the energy use of their own buildings to the others in the database, with the option to narrow the results to facilities of similar building type, floor area, age, occupancy, and features.

The database also includes a retrofit analysis feature that can compare building energy use with different technologies and determine the probability of achieving various levels of energy savings. All data is presented without identifying information such as building names or street addresses, which presents building managers with a way to compare efficiency projects throughout their portfolios without publicly identifying the lowest performers.

Future developments for the tool include additional building assets and equipment, as well as metered interval data from utilities, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is developing the tool with the DOE and Building Energy Inc., a Portland, OR software company. Buildings Performance Database is available at

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