This may not be new news to most people but its important enough to reiterate. The DOE’s Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) is in danger of vanishing. The results of long-awaited 2007 survey was thrown out due to “the data do not meet EIA standards for quality, credible energy information” and the 2011 Survey has been suspended.
For those who don’t understand how important this survey is - it is basically the basis for most of the benchmarking and policy efforts in US building industry. It is the dataset that the popular EnergyStar Portfolio Manager and the new ASHRAE Energy Labeling Program are based on. There is misconception in the industry that buildings which submit data to get their EnergyStar rating are added to the dataset, but according to the calculation methodology this is not the case. Its all based on the 2003 survey of 5,000+ buildings which means that we’re continuously comparing our existing building stock with our status from almost 10 years ago (and from a relatively small sample set at that.)
Do like ASHRAE and send an email to your state Senator to save CBECS! In my humble opinion, due to its ability to influence the real-estate market and building energy standards so much, it is the most important use of our taxpayer money (better than some of the other recent uses…)