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PNNL Data Aggregation Approach Protects Privacy, Enables Efficiency

June 2015

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), through its Better Buildings Energy Data Accelerator program, is using the results of a 2014 PNNL study to help local governments engage utilities in sharing energy-efficiency data in multi-tenant buildings, while preserving privacy for tenants. The program consists of 16 regional partnerships between cities and utilities to identify a set of tools and best practices to overcome key technical barriers, upgrade energy data systems, and design and pilot systems in their areas.

One of the tools is an approach presented in PNNL's report, Commercial Building Tenant Energy Usage Data Aggregation and Privacy. This study addresses the thorny issue of identifying a best practice for reliable and secure utility aggregation of energy data from multiple accounts to facilitate whole-building benchmarking, while also protecting renter privacy.

On April 30, Energy Data Accelerator program team members held a webinar to familiarize regional partners with the findings of the PNNL study. As part of the webinar, Xcel Energy, Inc. and the City of Minneapolis both described how they used the study in their filings to regulators and thought other utilities/cities could do the same. Quantitative evidence was established for regulators who considered using aggregation of multiple meters in a building for providing building owners with actionable energy management information.

"This was only possible because our team made partners aware of the [PNNL] study and gave some guidance on interpreting it," said Cody Taylor, DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

"It was definitely a success in my mind—both partners lauded our work and said that it [the study] helped them argue for a way forward on this thorny issue," Taylor added.


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