Scout: An Impact Analysis Tool for Building Energy-Efficiency Technologies

Andrew Parker, Brian Ball, Chioke Harris, Jared Langevin, Amir Roth, Patrick Phelan, Larry Brackney

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Evaluating the national impacts of candidate U.S. building energy-efficiency technologies has historically been difficult for organizations with large energy efficiency portfolios. In particular, normalizing results from technology-specific impact studies is time-consuming when those studies do not use comparable assumptions about the underlying building stock. To equitably evaluate its technology research, development, and deployment portfolio, the U.S. Department of Energy's Building Technologies Office has developed Scout, a software tool that quantitatively assesses the energy and CO2 impacts of building energy-efficiency measures on the national building stock. Scout efficiency measures improve upon the unit performance and/or lifetime operational costs of an equipment stock baseline that is determined from the U.S. Energy Information Administration Annual Energy Outlook (AEO). Scout measures are characterized by a market entry and exit year, unit performance level, cost, and lifetime. To evaluate measures on a consistent basis, Scout uses EnergyPlus simulation on prototype building models to translate measure performance specifications to whole-building energy savings; these savings impacts are then extended to a national scale using floor area weighting factors. Scout represents evolution in the building stock over time using AEO projections for new construction, retrofit, and equipment replacements, and competes technologies within market segments under multiple adoption scenarios. Scout and its efficiency measures are open-source, as is the EnergyPlus whole building simulation framework that is used to evaluate measure performance. The program is currently under active development and will be formally released once an initial set of measures has been analyzed and reviewed.
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-5500-67088


  • building energy efficiency
  • EnergyPlus
  • Scout


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