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Benchmarking datasets

The California End Use Survey (CEUS) provided the initial peer-group data that underlay the benchmarking process for EnergyIQ. CEUS is a highly detailed survey of approximately 2800 non-residential premises across California, based on a stratified random sampling across utility regions, climate zones, building types, and building size. In contrast to surveys relying on self-reporting, CEUS employed on-site surveys of building characteristics and monthly utility billing data. Short-term data logging and/or interval metering was performed at some sites. Energy intensities are derived from calibrated simulations, based on characteristics collected at the sites. The CEUS data are of unprecedented quality and detail. This enables a higher level of granularity in the benchmarking, ranging from campuses, to buildings, to systems, and to components.

A national dataset, based on the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (
CBECS) provides an alternative reference point for benchmarking outside of California. The CBECS is a national sample survey that collects information on the stock of U.S. commercial buildings, their energy-related building characteristics, and their energy consumption and expenditures. A total of 5,215 buildings across the country were statistically sampled. Commercial buildings include all buildings in which at least half of the floorspace is used for a purpose that is not residential, industrial, or agricultural, so they include building types that might not traditionally be considered "commercial," such as schools, correctional institutions, and buildings used for religious worship.

The CBECS was first conducted in 1979 and is currently conducted on a quadrennial basis by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The CBECS is conducted in two data-collection stages: a Building Characteristics Survey and an Energy Suppliers Survey.  The Energy Suppliers Survey is initiated only if the respondents to the Building Characteristics Survey cannot provide the energy consumption and expenditures information, or the information provided fails edits within the survey instrument. The Building Characteristics Survey collects information through voluntary interviews with the buildings’ owners, managers, or tenants. Respondents are asked questions about the building size, how the building is used, types of energy-using equipment and conservation measures that are present in the building, the types of energy sources used, and the amount and cost of energy used in the building.There may be differences between CBECS calculated average EUI values and EnergyIQ values due to EnergyIQ excluding CBECS buildings that:

  1. Are greater than 1,000,000 sf (because CBECS masked the actual gross floor areas of these buildings in order to protect privacy)
  2. Use district chilled water (because CBECS does not have the energy quantity and therefore cannot include for total energy use)
  3. Use propane and the amount of propane is large relative to total source energy of major fuels (CBECS reports propane quantity only as a range.)
The population-weighted median EUI for the EnergyIQ facilities may be very different even if there was just one or two facilities dropped from the population.