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Institute for Market Transformation

Promoting energy efficiency in buildings
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Goal: Improve Access to Utility Data for Building Owners

Benchmarking the energy performance of a building—that is, measuring it and comparing it to similar buildings—requires data on energy consumption. Owners and operators of commercial buildings must have access to this data for the whole building in order to benchmark it accurately. However, whole-building energy data is often difficult for them to obtain. The barriers can include:

* Separate meters - Building owners cannot access energy meters in buildings where tenants are billed directly for energy without authorization from those tenants.
* Manual data collection - Securing authorization from tenants to release the data, or collecting it monthly from individual tenants, can be time-intensive and procedurally difficult.
* Utility data policies - Many utilities have rigorous rules and privacy policies governing the direct release of customer energy data to third parties.

Along with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), the Real Estate Roundtable, and the U.S. Green Building Council, IMT launched a coalition to promote better access to whole-building energy consumption data.

The Data Access and Transparency Alliance (DATA) works with utilities, regulators, and policymakers to improve accessibility; to advance policies and programs with this objective; and to inform government agencies, members of Congress, utilities, and utility commissions about best practices. With DATA’s support, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) adopted a resolution in 2011 calling on state regulators to facilitate better access for building owners to whole-building energy consumption data.

It is important to protect customer privacy while providing building owners the data they need to benchmark and make their buildings more efficient. A variety of strategies including data aggregation can be used to accomplish this goal. See pages 50-54 of IMT’s Building Energy Transparency report and our utility data sensitivity matrix.

The Data Access and Transparency Alliance (DATA)

The Data Access and Transparency Alliance (DATA)

Visit DATA's website to learn more about the coalition for more accessible whole-building energy data.