Welcome To CBECS Building Benchmarking

This is a free website that displays CBECS benchmarking data.

Energy Benchmark Wizard

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What is CBECS?

CBECS stands for “Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey,” and is compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy: “CBECS is a national sample survey that collects information on the stock of U.S. commercial buildings, their energy-related building characteristics, and their energy consumption and expenditures. Commercial buildings include all buildings in which at least half of the floor space is used for a purpose that is not residential, industrial, or agricultural, so they include building types that might not traditionally be considered ‘commercial,’ such as schools, correctional institutions, and buildings used for religious worship. CBECS is currently conducted on a quadrennial basis.”

How Does It Work?

BuildingBenchmarks.com is a simple presentation of the latest CBECS data. Anyone can download the CBECS database files from the U.S. Department of Energy, but the raw data is not easily used. You could spend hours trying to understand the data file formats and link the various data fields together. BuildingBenchmarks.com is a user-friendly website that simplifies the data and displays it immediately. CBECS is public domain data compiled through the expenditure of your tax dollars, so take advantage of it.

A Building Benchmark Is Valuable

CBECS data is valuable. CBECS creates a “benchmark” by displaying the energy use of a typical building of your type and location. Use this valuable “peer group” information to help answer questions such as:

  • Is my building relatively efficient or inefficient compared with its peer group?
  • If I build a building or buy one, what can I expect the annual energy usage to be?
  • What is the estimated operational breakdown of building energy usage?
  • How does energy usage vary in different parts of the country?
  • Should I invest in energy management projects in my building?
Is This The Same As ENERGY STAR?

CBECS is not the same as ENERGY STAR, but they are related. The statistical engine that creates ENERGY STAR building ratings uses CBECS as the foundation. According to ENERGY STAR, “All of the calculations are based on source energy. The use of source energy is the most equitable way to compare building energy performance, and also correlates best with environmental impact and energy cost. To estimate how much energy your building would use at each level of performance, EPA conducts statistical analysis on the data gathered by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration during its quadrennial CBECS.