Energy Efficiency Projects Have a Performance Gap Problem

October 11, 2017

schoolkids, Energy Efficiency

A new study spearheaded by the University of Chicago utilized machine learning to analyze the effectiveness of energy efficiency upgrades in all California K-12 schools.  Here are 5 key findings from its study:

1 - The Performance Gap is real in current energy efficient retrofit projects

  • The performance gap is really a projection gap because that is where the problem starts
  • Real savings only equal 24% of projected savings in California K-12 Schools
  • Overall CA schools still found a 3% energy consumption reduction which would equate to a $240 Million a year savings nationwide for schools

2 - Retrospective studies need be considered when choosing which projects to prioritize

  • Lighting and HVAC projects have the closest projected to realized savings in this study and should be prioritized

3 - Projection models and Energy models do not account for real world occupant behavior

  • Savings projections are generally done in a vacuum rather than benchmarking to real world conditions which tend to lower savings
  • Modelers need to include drivers of real world energy consumption when developing projections

4 - There is no characteristic other than location that can predict realization rates across schools

  •  A market opportunity will arise if finding a way to pinpoint this characteristic can be developed  

5 - Can't just measure one upgrade against itself

  • Must look at all upgrades in conjunction because each component of upgrade may play a different part in the totality of upgrades for that building
To read more about this new study please visit:

To read the study in its entirety please go to:

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