US Panorama 2011

ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 105, Standard Methods of Measuring and Expressing Building Energy Performance, was first published in 1984. (ANSI is the American National Standards Institute, and ASHRAE is the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers.) Standard 105 was developed to provide a consistent method of measuring and expressing the energy performance of buildings. This standard did not establish energy performance requirements but did attempt to address issues related to the establishment of a performance standard database. Use of this standard was limited, primarily as a reference on methods of reporting energy use in actual buildings. Standard 105 was upgraded in 2007 to also cover comparison of building energy performance, including required documentation on performance comparison methods, if they are used. Revision to Standard 105 was started in 2011.

In 1996, Terry Sharp of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) published a paper, "Energy Benchmarking in Commercial Office Buildings," that represented some of the first reported results on energy benchmarking of commercial buildings. Another paper by Sharp in 1998, and one by Michael MacDonald of ORNL in 2000 on residential sector energy benchmarking modeling and analysis issues, closed out an initial triad of information on comparing energy performance of buildings using sectoral cross-sectional analytical models.

In 1999, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the first energy performance benchmarking tool (performance comparison tool) that provided a rating of energy performance of office buildings on an absolute scale of 1-100, based on a US office sector cross-sectional analytical model. Since then EPA has released tools for several other building types, and thousands of buildings have had energy performance rated using these tools.

ASHRAE also has an energy-focused design standard (Standard 90.1) for commercial buildings that allows energy performance comparisons based on calculations. ASHRAE published a new guide in 2010, Performance Measurement Protocols for Commercial Buildings, that addresses performance measurement of energy use, water use, and four indoor environmental quality areas. This new guide provides both basic and more complex methods for measuring and reporting building performance in these areas. In addition, the integration of performance diagnostics with performance measurement is treated. ASHRAE has also started pilot testing of a new building energy performance rating protocol called Building Energy Quotient (http://www.buildingeq.com/).

The US Green Buildings Council has a meta-analytical method called LEED for measuring performance, and other similar or related meta-methods are BREEAM, developed in the United Kingdom, Green Star in Australia, and HQE in France. The Efficiency Valuation Organization has tools for supporting valuation and measurement of energy efficiency (e.g., IPMVP), and ASHRAE has a Guideline 14 with a similar purpose.

ASTM International has published the new standard practice, ASTM E2797-2011, (Standard Practice) for Building Energy Performance Assessment for a Building Involved in a Real Estate Transaction.

What are not available, and one of the primary interests for EPMI, are tools that treat aggregate energy performance of entire sectors, countries, states or provinces, and other similar large entities. Many organizations remain distracted by sustainability topics, zero energy, and expensive renewable energy.   Measurement of energy performance for larger entities or on larger scales at least allows actual accomplishments to be judged, instead of appealing to some sense of sustainability or environmental justice that does not have performance measured.