Tracking energy usage and building characteristics with CBECS

The Challenge 

The Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), conducted by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is the nation’s only comprehensive survey of commercial buildings. It estimates the number, characteristics, and energy-use patterns of all types of buildings in the U.S. commercial and non-residential sectors. Westat performed 9 of the 10 CBECS cycles fielded since 1979.

Our Solutions 

  • We are preparing to perform sampling and Building Interview data collection for the 2018 CBECS.
  • We are exploring new efficient techniques for listing and sample frame construction.
  • We are planning a fully multimode approach to data collection to ease respondent burden. Respondents will be allowed to complete the interview online, in person, or over the phone.
  • After the Building Interview component, additional energy consumption and expenditure data will be obtained through a followup survey of local utilities and other energy suppliers nationwide.
  • This study uses Blaise, a comprehensive commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) survey processing system. It provides integrated multimode support for computer-assisted survey data collection.

The Results 

  • The information provided by CBECS is essential for updating energy policies and goals, setting benchmarks for special conservation programs (such as the EPA’s “Energy Star” ratings), building design, building code development, and tracking the impact of new technologies and construction practices on energy consumption and efficiency.
  • The users and uses of the CBECS data are diverse, including
    • Building owners and managers for benchmarking
    • Energy modelers for forecasting
    • Product developers to gauge market potential
    • Government leaders to formulate policy
    • Energy Star as the foundation for its rating system targets

Our Client 

Energy Information Administration