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.

Commercial Energy Code Field Study

Objective: Measure the impact of energy codes on commercial buildings and identify opportunities for savings through increased compliance.


  • Develop a methodology to measure compliance and address challenges in commercial buildings
  • Construct a representative data set across target states and climate zones {FL, NE, IA, NV}
  • Initially target two building types: Medium Office and Retail buildings
  • Develop training materials based on findings and which can be leveraged by future educational activities

Impact: Compliance with building energy codes is key to ensuring intended savings to U.S. home and business owners. The current project will help develop an approach to accurately and affordably assess compliance in commercial buildings, as well as the savings available through increased code compliance. This information is vital to utilities and others supporting compliance-improvement programs, providing the certainty they need to invest in increased efficiency through building code compliance. By developing the business case for energy efficiency, state and local governments will also have tools to allocate their limited resources more wisely and effectively, thereby reducing energy bills and energy-related pollution.

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Municipal Buildings

Objective: Identify how building codes and other policy measures systematically influence energy consumption patterns in municipal buildings.


  • Develop a methodology to measure the impact of codes on municipal building portfolios
  • Provide local governments with tools to identify which buildings are suited for energy-efficiency investments
  • Assemble a data set across three target cities {Providence, RI; Eugene, OR; TBD}

Impact: Public buildings provide a unique research environment, as they rarely change ownership and sound operational records tend to be readily accessible. To date, almost no research has been conducted to study how energy profiles change over a building’s lifetime given changes in material age, technology, and building use. Improved and accessible data will enable state and local governments to allocate their limited resources more wisely. Ultimately, a cost‐effective, replicable methodology will help cities achieve their conservation goals, and greatly reduce energy bills and energy waste.

Through this pilot project, the project team will develop a commercial energy code field study methodology, including sampling, recruitment, data collection, and stakeholder outreach strategies. Technical analysis on the resulting data set will be conducted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

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, Project Manager
U.S. Department of Energy

Additional Information

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