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Building energy benchmarking is a useful starting point for commercial building owners and operators to target energy savings opportunities. There are a number of tools and methods for benchmarking energy use. Benchmarking based on regional data can provides more relevant information for California buildings than national tools such as Energy Star.
This paper discusses issues related to benchmarking commercial building energy use and the development of Cal-Arch, a building energy benchmarking database for California. Currently Cal-Arch uses existing survey data from California's Commercial End Use Survey (CEUS), a largely underutilized wealth of information collected by California's major utilities. DOE's Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) is used by a similar tool, Arch, and by a number of other benchmarking tools. Future versions of Arch/Cal-Arch will utilize additional data sources including modeled data and individual buildings to expand the database.