Methodology for Calculating Energy
Use in Residential Buildings

Methodology for Calculating Energy Use in Residential Buildings

This white paper describes a method for determining energy usage in a representative single-family house for a specific energy code in a specific location. Energy usage is expressed in terms of electric (kWh) and natural gas (therm) usage. Beyond that, this paper also provides procedures to: 1) convert energy metric based on application (site, source, or cost); 2) calculate percent energy savings between different editions of an energy code; 3) perform a regional (e.g., state, county) or national energy analysis; and 4) analyze energy impact or neutrality of code amendments.

The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) minimum requirements are the primary basis for defining the Standard Reference House. However, there are many parameters not defined by the IECC which are necessary for a more detailed analysis. The Department of Energy’s Building America (BA) program and Home Innovation Research Labs’s Annual Builder Practices Survey (ABPS) have defined in detail many parameters representative of typical homes which are used to complement the IECC.

This methodology is intended to be universally applicable and allow for customization by using locally relevant data. For local and regional applications of this methodology site-specific or region-specific data may be substituted for the listed national averages.