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Building Segmentation Analysis

Understanding Commercial Buildings in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Energy has developed a series of reports that provide commercial and multifamily building characteristic and energy data for 88 local geographies, with the intention of helping policymakers at the city, county and state levels better understand commercial building energy use.

The reports break down the building stock for each geographic cluster by

  • building type,
  • size,
  • energy consumption, and
  • emissions.

The series has three planned topics:

  1. Basic Building Stock Characterization (published)
  2. Building Stock Decarbonization Segmentation (coming soon)
  3. Data on Common Retrofit Solutions for the Decarbonization Segments (in progress)

Find the report that is relevant to your specific geography. Links for Topic 1 reports are listed by county.
*Reports for California are by California Energy Commission’s (CEC) climate zones.

Figure 1. The map below shows the geographic clusters by county and, in the case of California, by CEC Climate Zones. Click on the figure to access an interactive version of this map on BECP's Tableau Public page.

Topic 1: Basic Building Stock Characterization

Topic 1 focuses on basic building stock characterization by building type, floor area and emissions.

What Types of Questions Can This Help Me Answer for My City, County, or Region?

  • How many buildings exist, by type and size?
  • Which buildings are responsible for the most emissions today, by type and size?
  • How many buildings or what fraction of emissions are covered by a policy’s size threshold?
  • How might a policy’s building size threshold impact equity?

What Types of Questions Will This Report Not Help Me Answer?

  • What will the building stock, energy use, and emissions look like in the future?
  • What metric and target levels are best for building energy policy?
  • How should a policy acknowledge variation in use within a given building type?
  • How will zoning and development changes impact building energy use?

How Were the Geographic Clusters Developed?

The geographic clusters are formed on a county basis and depend on building type, age, and climate. Adjacent counties with similar commercial densities, types, and age distributions form a cluster. Clusters form regional groups if they belong to the same American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) climate zone. See the technical reference documentation for more detail on the clustering method.