OpenStudio: A Platform for Ex Ante Incentive Programs

Larry Brackney, Andrew Parker, Amir Roth, Annette Beitel

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Many utilities operate programs that provide ex ante (up front) incentives for building energy conservation measures (ECMs). A typical incentive program covers two kinds of ECMs. ECMs that deliver similar savings in different contexts are associated with pre-calculated 'deemed' savings values. ECMs that deliver different savings in different contexts are evaluated on a 'custom' per-project basis. Incentive programs often operate at less than peak efficiency because both deemed ECMs and custom projects have lengthy and effort-intensive review processes--deemed ECMs to gain confidence that they are sufficiently context insensitive, custom projects to ensure that savings are claimed appropriately. DOE's OpenStudio platform can be used to automate ex ante processes and help utilities operate programs more efficiently, consistently, and transparently, resulting in greater project throughput and energy savings. A key concept of the platform is the OpenStudio Measure, a script that queries and transforms building energy models. Measures can be simple or surgical, e.g., applying different transformations based on space-type, orientation, etc. Measures represent ECMs explicitly and are easier to review than ECMs that are represented implicitly as the difference between a with-ECM and without-ECM models. Measures can be automatically applied to large numbers of prototype models--and instantiated from uncertainty distributions--facilitating the large scale analysis required to develop deemed savings values. For custom projects, Measures can also be used to calibrate existing building models, to automatically create code baseline models, and to perform quality assurance screening.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2016
Event2016 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - Pacific Grove, California
Duration: 21 Aug 201626 Aug 2016


Conference2016 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
CityPacific Grove, California

Bibliographical note

Available from ACEEE: see

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-67087


  • building energy conservation measures
  • incentive programs
  • OpenStudio


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