Development of New Baseline Models for U.S. Medium Office Buildings Based on Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey Data

Yunyang Ye, Yingli Lou, Matthew Strong, Satish Upadhyaya, Wangda Zuo, Gang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus Citations


Building energy estimation for the building sector under various scenarios are needed for building energy regulation and policy making. This often starts with representative baselines (either empirical baseline or modeled baseline). Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) data is a widely used empirical baseline for U.S. commercial buildings, but none of the existing baseline model are developed to represent the CBECS data. This paper aims to develop new baseline models for the U.S. medium office buildings, which can produce modeled baselines consistent with the CBECS data. First, we introduced the methodology to create baseline models and the criteria to evaluate the performance of baseline models. The methodology consists of three phases: (1) identification of model inputs, (2) model calibration, and (3) model validation with uncertainty analysis. The evaluation index is the coefficient of variation of the root-mean-square deviation (CV(RMSD)) of site energy use intensities (EUIs) between the modeled baseline and empirical baseline. Then 30 new baseline models for two vintages (pre- and post-1980) and 15 climate zones were created. The evaluation shows that the CV(RMSD) is lower than 0.05 for the modeled baselines produced by the new baseline models. As a comparison, the CV(RMSD) is higher than 0.1 for the existing modeled baselines generated by DOE Commercial Reference Building Models. Further analysis shows that the new baseline models are able to capture the uncertainties of the representative features of existing buildings.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1321-1336
Number of pages16
JournalScience and Technology for the Built Environment
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-77267


  • climate models
  • energy policy
  • energy utilization
  • office buildings
  • surveys
  • uncertainty analysis


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