Using Building-Level Data to Improve Energy Efficiency

Across the U.S., an increasing number of cities, counties, and states are examining building performance benchmarking and transparency as a critical step in addressing building energy and water use. These energy benchmarking and transparency requirements generate new and robust building-level datasets, and staff of utilities and contractors who design and implement energy efficiency programs can use to more cost-effectively identify prospective program participants and improve rates of customer acquisition.

This guide describes how energy efficiency program administrators can use data about buildings’ energy equipment, consumption, and performance to deliver high-impact services while reducing their costs, increasing their ability to engage with their customers, and continuing to meet high energy-savings goals. By collaborating with local governments, program administrators can leverage these new and robust datasets about building energy performance to increase participation in energy efficiency by identifying and more effectively targeting leads. In addition to describing key benefits that can be obtained by using building-level data, this guide includes important steps that program administrators can take internally to prepare themselves to generate, use, and share building energy data, and overviews key factors to consider in developing a plan for evaluation, measurement, and verification.

This guide is part of IMT’s Putting Data to Work toolkit. This comprehensive toolkit is the result of a three-year pilot project that aimed to use building performance data and asset information to help city government sustainability leaders, utilities, and efficiency program administrators and implementers make more informed business decisions and increase building efficiency. The project examined energy efficiency program design and delivery in the District of Columbia and New York City to produce a toolkit of best practices, actionable tools, and case studies to enable other local governments, utilities, and efficiency program implementers to replicate successes. The full toolkit, as well as details on upcoming blogs and webinars associate with the project, is available at

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