ASHRAE Hosts Luncheon on Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey



ATLANTA ‘ An update on the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) ‘ one of the United State’s most essential building energy use surveys ‘ is featured at a luncheon hosted by ASHRAE next month.


Tom Lecky, director of the Energy Information Administration (EIA)’s Energy Consumption and Efficiency Statistics, which administers CBECS, will serve as guest speaker at the May 4 event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. ASHRAE President Ron Jarnagin will serve as moderator. The luncheon is part of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) monthly Caucus luncheon services. As an ANSI member, ASHRAE is sponsoring the May event.


‘The luncheon provides a great opportunity for ANSI Federation members and others in the built environment industry to hear about CBECS and how important it is to building performance benchmarking,” Jarnagin said.


CBECS is a national sample survey that collects baseline information on the stock of U.S. commercial buildings, their energy-related building characteristics and their energy consumption and expenditures.


Last year, EIA announced it would not be releasing the results of the 2007 CBECS due to data collection errors. As a result of appropriations reductions, EIA also announced that it would halt work on the 2011 edition of the Survey. Currently, the latest version of CBECS data is from 2003. ASHRAE and other groups in the built environment industry asked the agency and Congress to reconsider, and allow work on the Survey to continue.


As a result, funding was restored, and CBECS is being conducted for reference year 2012. Data collection is slated to begin April 2013, with the first data releases expected in spring 2014. According to EIA, its focus is on collaboration with stakeholders to develop the CBECS questionnaire. ASHRAE has provided feedback on the document, which can be found at


To obtain the data used in CBECS, interviews are conducted for a sample of commercial buildings representing the 50 States and the District of Columbia. For buildings in the survey, data are collected on the types, amount and cost of energy consumed in the building, how the energy is used, structural characteristics of the buildings, activities conducted inside the buildings that relate to energy use, building ownership and occupancy, energy conservation measures and energy-using equipment.


CBECS data are critical to the building community because they help form the basis for understanding patterns of energy use, informing the decisions of the industry and key policymakers and government programs, according to Jarnagin.


‘For instance, CBECS data are used by ASHRAE in the development of its building energy efficiency standards, which are used by the federal government and most states,” Jarnagin said. ‘CBECS data are also used by many federal and private sector programs in their efforts to promote building efficiency.”


ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a building technology society with more than 50,000 members worldwide. The Society and its members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry. Through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today.


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