Building Energy Assessment Toolkit

From Open Energy Information

Stage 3



How can I determine how well my building energy system will perform?
Energy efficiency models predict the performance of building energy systems, given information about weather at the building's location, descriptions of the building envelope and HVAC systems, characteristics of on-site power generation equipment, and energy consumption patterns defined by temperature set-points, lighting schedules and room occupancy levels. Building energy system models are complex models that require experience with simulation software and knowledge of building energy systems.

EnergyPlus is building simulation software that models the performance a building's heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation, and water systems. The model is designed to help building engineers and architects size HVAC equipment for new buildings and for retrofit projects. The analyst provides a description of the building with information about indoor climate requirements, and the model calculates the building's heating and cooling loads and energy consumption. The model requires both a high level of technical knowledge of building systems and of computer modeling.
Energy-10 is Windows-based building energy and simulation model available for purchase from the Sustainable Buildings Energy Council. The model was developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and allows architects and building engineers to analyze energy cost and savings of different building design options, including daylighting, passive solar heating and cooling, photovoltaic systems, natural ventilation, building insulation, and use of high-performance elements such as windows, lighting systems, and mechanical equipment.

Green Building Standards

In this section, you will find information about U.S. green building standards.

  • The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a 501 c3 non-profit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. [1]
  • LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized green building certification system. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in March 2000, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. [2]

Building Design Processes and Influences

In this section, you will find information about the variables that influence a building, including incentives, utilities, weather, climate, and location/ground temperature.

The Built Environment

This section contains information on factors that define a building, such as occupancy.

  • Commercial Buildings
  • Residential Buildings
  • DOE Buildings Energy Data Book: Presents statistics on residential and commercial building energy consumption. Data tables contain statistics related to construction, building technologies, energy consumption, and building characteristics.
  • International Buildings
    • Sweden Building Data: For several years now, the Swedish Energy Agency has been working, under the name of the STIL2 project, to improve the general level of awareness and knowledge of how energy is used in non-residential premises, and of how it can used more efficiently. Each year, the Agency carries out detailed surveys of energy use in about 150 representative buildings. So far, this has covered energy use in offices, schools and healthcare premises over the years 2005-2007. In addition to comparison of performance between these years, results are also compared with a similar investigation from 1990. The emphasis of the work of the STIL2 investigation is on the use of electricity.[4]
      • Sweden Building Data contains summary information from the STIL2 project. This is a representative sampling of non-residential buildings and the buildings are numbered and and exact location is not given. The county where the building is located and other general information is located on OpenEI. Additional detailed information on usage in each building is available here in a spreadsheet format.
    • Finland Building Data: Coming soon!
  • High Performance Buildings Database: Contains in-depth information and data on high-performance, green-building projects across the United States and abroad. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is currently in the process of compiling this data. It it scheduled to be released for general consumption in the near future.
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Building Performance

In this section, you will find information on building outputs, including energy usage, economics, carbon emissions, and site and source emissions.


  • National Residential Efficiency Measures Database

The National Residential Efficiency Measures Database is a publicly available, centralized resource of residential building retrofit measures and costs for the U.S. building industry. With support from the U.S. Department of Energy, The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed this tool to help users determine the most cost-effective retrofit measures for improving energy efficiency of existing homes.

  • Building Component Library

The Building Component Libary is a large searchable database of building energy components. This data includes high-level descriptions of components, cost data as well as low-level energy usage statistics.

  • Updates

The Tools section will also contain a chart comparing the numerous tools available today on a variety of features and capabilities. Analysis and formatting are underway and the chart will be made available as soon as it is completed.

Additional Information

Building Energy Codes-Best Practices Report for APEC Economies


  1. About USGBC, U.S. Green Building Council (2011)
  2. What LEED Is, U.S. Green Building Council (2011)
  3. EIA CBECS Building Types, U.S. Energy Information Administration (Oct 2008)
  4. Swedish Energy Agency

Buildings energy system analysis resources


All energy efficiency assessment resources


Country-Specific Energy Efficiency Assessments


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EnergyPlus Weather Data
The EnergyPlus weather data website is managed by the U.S. Department of Energy, and provides access to hourly solar resource and climate data from a variety of sources for more than 2100 locations in the U.S., Canada, and other countries around the world. Over 1000 of the locations are in 100 countries outside of the U.S. and Canada. The files are available in the EPW format, which is designed for use with the EnergyPlus building energy performance modeling software, but can be used with other solar energy simulation models including the Solar Advisor Model.

Further Data Sources


Software Tools


Training Materials




Lessons Learned and Best Practices


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