The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is developing a tool to evaluate the energy efficiency of U.S. commercial buildings. Named the Commercial Building Energy Asset Score, the tool is currently in a draft state. The DOE recently issued a Request For Information (RFI) to collect public input on key issues associated with the tool and its use.
From the DOE’s public announcement:
The score provides information regarding the efficiency of a building’s major energy consuming systems and is intended to enable greater understanding of building performance and potential savings. Through the use of a free, on-line scoring tool, building owners and operators will be able to generate a score along with recommendations for how to improve the efficiency of their buildings. The scoring tool applies standard assumptions about a building’s operations (based on building type) in order to calculate a score that reflects the building’s energy efficiency, not the behavior of its occupants. More detailed information concerning the scoring methodology and other program features are outlined in a document entitled “Commercial Building Energy Asset Score: Program Overview and Technical Protocol Version 1.0.” This Protocol document can be found at this location.
Specifically, the DOE is interested in feedback on three specific program components:
- Data Collection and Validation
- The Asset Score Report
- Score Durability
I recently attended a DOE webinar regarding the RFI to get a few of my initial questions answered before participating in this exercise. Most importantly, I wondered if the tool duplicated or complimented the well-established Portfolio Manager online tool from EnergyStar. This concern was brought up during the presentation of the webcast. The Asset Score tool is designed to pickup where Portfolio Manager leaves off. Portfolio Manager is a widely-used online too that analyses a facility against a national database of similar buildings and returns a score with a gap analysis report. However, the level of rigor and range of building types supported by Portfolio Manager can be somewhat limited.
The DOE Energy Asset Score is meant to dive a bit deeper, reviewing the energy consuming infrastructure equipment at the facility and how it is being operated. As mentioned in the webinar, there are a number of facilities that are quite efficient and run very well, despite the continued use of antiquated equipment (lighting, air handlers, etc).
Additional nuances of the Energy Asset Score tool will be identified during the open comment period, which closes on March 11, 2013. If you’re located in the U.S. and interested in participating in the RFI, feel free to download the complete RFI packet from the U.S. Government’s Federal Register site at this location.