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Defining consistent and relevant baselines is important to establishing meaningful benchmarks to track progress and compare performance. The 2030 Commitment uses CBECS 2003 (Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey) and RECS 2001 (Residential Energy Consumption Survey) as the baseline energy use intensity (EUI) for whole building projects, measured in IP units of kBtu/ft2/yr and SI units of kWh/m2/yr. (See Set a Project Baseline (Interiors only) for more on LPD). These baselines were set at the onset of the 2030 Commitment because they were the best available US data sets. 

In the Extended Project Data section, the baseline for US and Canadian projects will be automatically calculated based on the Zero Tool, but custom baselines may be input instead. After use type(s) and associated square footage are entered, the DDx will automatically calculate a baseline based on the Zero Tool, along with a target. You may then either choose the default baseline, or enter your own pEUI baseline and and source information before saving. 

Zero Tool

Architecture 2030 developed the Zero Tool so that regional average Baseline EUIs for projects could continue to be calculated using CBECS 2003 once EPA’s Target Finder calculator switched to the 2012 CBECS. For consistency of reporting for the AIA 2030 Commitment program, and to reduce potential “baseline confusion”, the AIA 2030 Commitment has incorporated the Zero Tool with the DDx as the recommended approach to define project baselines. The Zero Tool replicates, as well as streamlines, the calculation procedures that were used by ENERGY STAR Target Finder. 

Special Use Baselines

We recommend using the Zero Tool/DDx default to establish 2030 baselines whenever possible. However, in some cases, there may be a need to use a different baseline. For instance, some use types such as laboratories are not available, or cannot be accurately benchmarked, in Zero Tool. When available, use alternative benchmarking tools like Labs21 for these use types. When using other tools, always check to make sure the percent savings is reasonable. 

Projects in Canada

Canada has a robust public database of operational building energy use (Natural Resources Canada Office of Energy Efficiency’s Commercial and Institutional Consumption of Energy Survey, or CICES). Architecture 2030 provides ‘Canadian Target Tables’ which summarize relevant CICES data. 

Note: to convert from GJ/m2 to kBtu/sf, multiply by 88.06. (1 GJ = 947.8171 kBtu; 1 m2 = 10.7639 sf)

International Projects

For international projects not supported by Zero Tool, the DDx defaults to the US National Average based on CBECS 2003. (See table below) These values provide a quick and reasonable Baseline (General Inputs, Section 2) and Target (General Inputs, Section 3); however, you may use EDGE tool or other country-specific data about building performance in 2003 to set a “custom” baseline.

The World Bank International Finance Corporation’s EDGE certification program provides a free database of building benchmarking data for over 130 countries. This resource can help to more accurately benchmark international work. More information about the EDGE methodology can be found here

  • If the country and the use type are available in EDGE, select Custom Baseline in the Baseline Energy Use section in the DDx. (See image above.) Enter the baseline from EDGE.

National Average EUI Reference Table

For whole building projects (Residential and Non-residential), the table below displays each use type currently included in the DDx, with an associated baseline EUI and its source, and incrementally increasing target EUIs (i.e., 60 percent target from 2010-2014, 70 percent target from 2015-2019, and on to 100 percent in 2030). 

Sources: 2003 Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) & 2001 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). Averages calculated as the arithmetic mean of reported EUI across all survey buildings of the given type.
Use TypesBaseline EUI (kBtu/sf/yr)SourceTarget EUI (kBtu/sf/yr)
60% (2010-2014)70% (2015-2019)

80% (2020-2024)

90% (2025-2029)100% (2030+)
Bank/Financial Institution772003 CBECS Average30.823.
Courthouse1182003 CBECS Average70.835.423.611.80.0
Data Centern/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
Education - College/University (campus-level)1202003 CBECS Average72.
Education - General762003 CBECS Average45.622.815.27.60.0
Education - K-12 School752003 CBECS Average45.022.515.07.50.0
Food Sales - Convenience Store (w/ or w/out gas station)2412003 CBECS Average144.672.348.224.10.0
Food Sales - General2252003 CBECS Average135.067.545.022.50.0
Food Sales - Supermarket/Grocery2132003 CBECS Average127.863.942.621.30.0
Food Service - Fast Food5342003 CBECS Average320.4160.2106.853.40.0
Food Service - General3512003 CBECS Average210.6105.370.235.10.0
Food Service - Restaurant/Cafeteria3022003 CBECS Average181.290.660.430.20.0
Health Care - Clinic842003 CBECS Average50.425.
Health Care - Hospital Inpatient2272003 CBECS Average136.268.145.422.70.0
Health Care - Medical Office592003 CBECS Average35.417.711.85.90.0
Health Care - Nursing/Assisted Living1242003 CBECS Average74.437.224.812.40.0
Health Care - Outpatient - General732003 CBECS Average43.821.914.67.30.0
Lodging - General872003 CBECS Average52.
Lodging - Hotel/Motel942003 CBECS Average56.428.
Lodging - Residence Hall/Dormitory892003 CBECS Average53.426.717.88.90.0
Office - Small ( < 10,000 sf)742003 CBECS Average*44.422.
Office - Medium (< 100,000 sf)902003 CBECS Average*
Office - Large1042003 CBECS Average*62.431.220.810.40.0
Public Assembly - Entertainment/Culture952003 CBECS Average57.028.519.09.50.0
Public Assembly - General662003 CBECS Average39.619.813.26.60.0
Public Assembly - Library1042003 CBECS Average62.431.220.810.40.0
Public Assembly - Recreation652003 CBECS Average39.019.513.06.50.0
Public Assembly - Social/Meeting522003 CBECS Average31.215.610.45.20.0
Public Safety - Fire/Police Station782003 CBECS Average46.823.415.67.80.0
Public Safety - General902003 CBECS Average54.
Religious Worship462003 CBECS Average27.613.
Residential - Mobile Homes73.42001 RECS Average44.
Residential - Multi-Family, 2 to 4 units58.22001 RECS Average34.917.511.65.80.0
Residential - Multi-Family, 5 or more units49.52001 RECS Average29.714.
Residential - Single-Family Attached43.72001 RECS Average26.
Residential - Single-Family Detached43.82001 RECS Average26.313.
Residential - Mid-Rise/HIgh-Rise78.8ES47.323.615.87.90.0
Retail - Mall1072003 CBECS Average64.232.121.410.70.0
Retail - Non-mall, Vehicle Dealerships, misc.822003 CBECS Average49.224.616.48.20.0
Retail Store722003 CBECS Average43.221.614.47.20.0
Service (vehicle repair/service, postal service)772003 CBECS Average46.
Storage - Distribution/Shipping Center442003 CBECS Average26.413.
Storage - General262003 CBECS Average15.
Storage - Non-refrigerated warehouse312003 CBECS Average18.
Storage - Refrigerated warehouse1272003 CBECS Average76.238.125.412.70.0
Warehouse - Self-storage42003 CBECS Average2.
* CBECS Averages weighted by square footage, within size groups.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    Many residential projects in our region have pools. I see that the RECS data has tracked energy consumption by pool/hot tub heaters and pool filters/pumps but it is unclear if this is factored in to the 2030 baseline for residential projects. Is it? Depending on pool energy use inclusion in baseline energy use this would theoretically impact whether or not our projects should include this in our energy use totals as well.