Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has added significant new features and updates to EnergyIQ, its free, web-based, action-oriented benchmarking tool for non-residential buildings. These improvements help new and current users speed and simplify energy benchmarking against a growing database of buildings.
To help existing users of the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager easily take advantage of EnergyIQ's deeper benchmarking features, users are now able to import building data that was previously entered into Portfolio Manager directly into EnergyIQ.
Users will also find many more buildings to benchmark theirs against. Previously, peer groups could only be drawn from the California Commercial End-Use Survey (CEUS) or Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) databases, but now users can also benchmark themselves against other users of EnergyIQ. In addition, users can now benchmark a single building exclusively against their own portfolio of buildings.
"Our user base has grown to 1,139 firms who have collectively entered data for 781 buildings, with an aggregate floor area of 106 million square feet," says EnergyIQ project leader Evan Mills. "EnergyIQ utilization has tripled in the past six months, and now that the automated data import from Portfolio Manager import is working, we expect those numbers to grow quickly."
Beyond the explosive data growth, however, is an improvement in accuracy. Users can now add a larger number of building features, which facilitates more accurate and meaningful peer-group definitions. In addition, new filters, including hours of occupancy and type of building certification (e.g., ENERGY STAR, LEED) allow for more relevant peer-group definition, whether a user is evaluating an existing building or one in the design stage.
Finally, EnergyIQ is getting even more user-friendly. The peer group definition user interface is now easier to use (there are slider bars for key inputs), and users are no longer limited to pre-set blocks; they can specify custom ranges, such as vintage bands.
"We now offer a downloadable input form, which makes it easier for users to assemble data before starting their web session," says Mills. "In addition, our APIs enable software developers to create customized web interfaces for energy benchmarking. We always welcome feedback and suggestions for improvements—anything that will lead to better, quicker benchmarking."