In July 2012, EC&M reported that the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Office of Energy Consumption and Efficiency Statistics was preparing to resume its national sample survey of energy use in buildings, the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), after a ten-year hiatus. The results provide the only national-level source of data on the characteristics and energy use of the existing stock of commercial buildings in the United States.

Now, energy modeling, which can be instrumental in making decisions regarding design, particularly when performed during the design phase, is in the news. In a new feature available to members of BuildingGreen, Environmental Building News stresses the importance of modeling “early” and “often” for the biggest savings in energy and costs.

Although whole-building energy simulation has become more common over the last two decades, but it’s not always accurate to real energy use and hasn’t had a big impact on design decisions. The real value of modeling, according to Marcus Sheffer, an energy consultant with 7group,  is not predicting energy use but making relative comparisons among design options.