Building Performance Database

Building Performance Database
The largest publicly-available collection of measured energy performance data for buildings in the United States.

 

The Building Performance Database (BPD) is the largest publicly-available source of measured energy performance data for buildings in the United States. It contains information about the building’s energy use, location, and physical and operational characteristics. The BPD can be used by building owners, operators, architects and engineers to compare a building’s energy efficiency against customized peer groups, identify energy efficiency opportunities, and set energy efficiency targets. It can also be used by energy efficiency program implementers and policymakers to analyze energy efficiency features and trends in the building stock. The BPD compiles data from various data sources, converts it into a standard format, cleanses and quality checks the data, and provides users with access to the data in a way that maintains anonymity for data providers.

The BPD consists of the database itself, a graphical user interface allowing exploration of the data, and an application programming interface allowing the development of third-party applications using the data.

THE DATA

The BPD contains information for over 1 million commercial and residential buildings. Fields include location (city, state, ZIP, climate zone), floor area and primary use type, operational characteristics (operating hours and number of occupants), systems level data (lighting, heating, and cooling types), certifications (ENERGY STAR, LEED, etc.), and more. For the full list of fields, refer to the API documentation. Data availability depends on location and building type, but in general, most buildings have location, type, and energy use data, while few buildings have operational, systems, or certifications data.

All data in the BPD are converted into a standard format and quality checked by LBNL before being added to the database.

Unlike the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) and the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), the BPD is not intended to be a statistically representative sample of the building stock. However, it is approximately representative for some peer groups. As we gather more data, we expect the BPD to more closely represent the actual building stock.

The utility of the BPD depends on the quality and quantity of data it contains, and all data are submitted voluntarily by contributors. If you would like to help improve the BPD by contributing your data, please contact us. All data are kept anonymous and secure.

GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE (GUI)

 

 

The BPD data can be accessed on our website, where users can filter the dataset to focus on similar buildings, visualize statistical properties of the data, and compare a building to its peers.

APPLICATION PROGRAMMING INTERFACE (API)

Users can utilize the BPD’s data to develop their own applications using the API. In nearly all cases, use of the BPD API is free, even for commercial use (contact us for details).

PRIVACY AND SECURITY

We do not provide access to raw data or information on individual buildings. The GUI and API return aggregated results on groups of buildings, and ensures those groups are large enough that individual buildings cannot be identified. The BPD does not contain any personally identifiable information (e.g., building owner or occupant names or addresses). Data contributed to the BPD is protected by law from release under the Freedom of Information Act. For more information, see our privacy terms.

The BPD security policy aligns with DOE policies and information security best-practices. The database is only accessible by LBNL personnel actively working on the BPD.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Does the BPD have time series data?

We aggregate all data to annual intervals.

Does the BPD allow pre- and post-retrofit analysis of the same buildings?

In general, no. It’s possible that some building’s data were measured both before and after a retrofit, but we are typically not provided with data indicating when retrofits were performed.

Is the BPD data weather-normalized?

No. It contains only measured data.

How can you be sure there aren’t two records about the same building in the BPD?

We run an analysis on all combinations of buildings that checks similarity of building characteristics and removes any duplicates that are found. In cases of missing data, we assume records match unless we can prove that they are different.

How does the BPD relate to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager?

The BPD and Portfolio Manager are complementary. Portfolio Manager is a benchmarking and tracking tool that collects information on your building in order to generate a whole-building energy-efficiency score. The BPD allows users to explore the relationship between energy performance and physical and operational characteristics of many similar buildings in order to identify and evaluate efficiency opportunities. In fact, the BPD contains data on all of the buildings in Portfolio Manager that have been engineer-verified.

How does the BPD relate to CBECS and RECS?

The BPD serves a complementary function to the Energy Information Administration's Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) and Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). CBECS and RECS are statistically valid samples of the national commercial and residential building stocks, and are in fact two of the data sources for the BPD. See our comparison of the BPD and CBECS here.

How does the BPD relate to the Green Button initiative? 

The Green Button initiative is an industry-led effort that responds to a White House initiative to provide utility customers, such as building owners and managers and major tenants, with easy and secure access to their energy usage information in a standardized electronic format. The BPD is able to accept Green Button data but the minimum data requirements for the BPD include additional fields as well, such as floor area and building age.

CONTRIBUTING DATA

We are continually looking for additional data contributions, and new data is added to the BPD regularly. When contributors provide data to the BPD, we provide them with a cleansed version of their data along with some basic analysis results. Recognition as a data contributor is optional. If you would like to contribute data, please contact us.

Unless stated otherwise, all data provided to the BPD is treated as business confidential and anonymized per the BPD privacy terms.

CONTACT

For questions about the BPD, to request access the API, or to contribute data, email us at bpd-support@lbl.gov.

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Project Researcher