Energy Efficiency Field Studies

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building Energy Codes Program has developed research methods to support states in studying the impacts of their building energy codes. The objectives of the studies is to document typical design and construction practices, target areas for improvement through workforce education & training initiatives, and quantify energy efficiency and environmental impacts in buildings. States are encouraged to conduct these types of studies every 3-5 years to validate impacts of codes and other energy-efficiency programs, as well as to benchmark technology trends in residential and commercial construction.

Single-family Residential Buildings

Study highlights include:

  • Results based on an energy metric and reported at the state-level
  • Focuses on individual code requirements within new single-family homes
  • Data confidentiality — no personal data shared
  • Designed around a single site-visit prioritizing key items
  • Designed with statistically significant results in mind

The table below summarizes states who have recently conducted a field study based on the DOE methodology (study results are available where linked):

Resources

Technical Assistance

For states that fund their own data collection activities, technical assistance is available—often free of charge—from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to support development of the study and analysis of results. Assistance typically includes guidance on the established methodology, customization of sampling plans, and technical analysis of the resulting data set. Interested states can submit an inquiry.

Pilot Studies

Pilot Goal: Determine whether an investment in energy code education, training, and outreach programs can produce a significant, measurable change in single-family building code energy use. Participating states:

  1. Conducted a baseline field study to determine installed energy values of code-required items, identify issues, and calculate savings opportunities [Phase I];
  2. Implemented education and training activities designed to increase code compliance [Phase II]; and
  3. Conducted a second field study to re-measure the post-training values using the same methodology as the baseline study [Phase III].

Results:

Participating Pilot States

The following states were selected to participate in the study (original DOE funding opportunity announcement):

STATE LEAD ORGANIZATION
Alabama Institute for Market Transformation (IMT)
Arkansas Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA)
Georgia Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA)
Kentucky Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA)
Maryland Maryland Energy Administration (MEA)
North Carolina Appalachian State University
Pennsylvania Performance Systems Development
Texas National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)

Individual State Findings

Phase I

Phase III (Coming Soon)

Individual State Data Sets

The aggregated data set across all field study states:

The methodology and resources above were originally developed through a series of three-phased pilot projects funded through a Funding Opportunity Announcement (2014).


 

Multifamily Residential Energy Efficiency Field Study

Objective: Validate the impact of building energy codes in low-rise multifamily buildings and identify opportunities for increased energy that can be addressed through workforce education & training programs.

Activities

  • Develop a field-based methodology which can be implemented in low-rise multifamily buildings
  • Identify and resolve challenges that are unique to multifamily construction
  • Construct an empirical data set across four target states {WA, OR, MN & IL}
  • Examine envelope air tightness testing protocols and challenges in the multifamily sector
  • Provide recommendations as to how multifamily buildings can be better represented through energy code training and other compliance-improvement programs

Findings

Prepared by Ecotope, Slipstream, and the MN Center for Energy & Environment (CEE).

The low-rise multifamily approach was developed and tested through a pilot project funded through a Funding Opportunity Announcement (2016).

Contact

, Project Manager
U.S. Department of Energy

Additional Information

Learn more about additional projects supported by the DOE Building Technologies Office.