Bad News About CBECS 2007

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I just got an email pointing me towards the following press release from the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

CBECS Status

EIA regrets to report that the 2007 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) has not yielded valid statistical estimates of building counts, energy characteristics, consumption, and expenditures.  Because the data do not meet EIA standards for quality, credible energy information, neither data tables nor a public use file will be released.  In the interim, EIA will develop key energy indicators for commercial buildings in collaboration with EIA’s forecasting staff for the Annual Energy Outlook.

Factors contributing to the failure of the 2007 survey include the use of a cheaper but experimental survey frame and sampling method by EIA’s prime contractor, design errors in the construction of the method and selection of common building types, and an inability to monitor and manage its use in a production survey environment.  EIA has reviewed and introduced significant changes in its procurement and project management standards that will prevent this type of loss in the future.

As reported in the EIA Press Release, “Immediate Reductions in EIA’s Energy Data and Analysis Programs Necessitated by FY 2011 Funding Cut” (http://www.eia.gov/pressroom/releases/press362.cfm), work on the 2011 CBECS has been suspended at this time.

The Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) is a national sample survey that collects information on the stock of U.S. commercial buildings, their energy-related building characteristics, and their energy consumption and expenditures. Commercial buildings include all buildings in which at least half of the floorspace is used for a purpose that is not residential, industrial, or agricultural, so they include building types that might not traditionally be considered “commercial,” such as schools, correctional institutions, and buildings used for religious worship.

The CBECS was first conducted in 1979; the eighth, and most recent survey, was conducted in 2003. CBECS is currently conducted on a quadrennial basis.

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