Building Energy Analytics: Measuring and Understanding Building Energy Use


Length: 5 weeks

Instructor: Andy Shapiro

Subjects: Green Building: Zero Net Energy, Green Building: Building Science, Green Building: Passive House


This course is about learning the basics of understanding actual energy use in buildings. It is about first learning to ask the right questions—thinking deeply about what you want to know and who you want to have understand the answer—and then assembling and using the tools to answer those questions. You may be looking at newer or older existing whole-building energy use, or at subsystems in the building. The buildings may be older buildings that haven’t been upgraded, they may be buildings that have been retrofit where you want to know how energy use has changed, or they may be new buildings whose performance you want to understand and compare to design-phase energy use estimates. The term "energy analytics" describes an emerging process of taking data from a building on a regular basis, usually automatically, and applying some intelligence to it to provide feedback to the owner to improve energy use or to alert the owner to issues with systems in the building. In some systems this is done automatically, with computer algorithms checking automatically data uploaded from a building monitoring system and providing feedback to the building operator. In this course, you will be doing the data gathering and the analysis. You may employ simple or sophisticated equipment, or you may rely on energy usage data that you can gather from suppliers, or you may do some of both. You will choose how deep to dive into data collection and analysis in a capstone project that you will design, with guidance and personal help along the way.

During this 6-week course, you’ll learn how to answer two important questions:

  1. “What information do we need to know to find out how well a building (or a system in it) is doing?”
  2. “How do we gather and analyze information to answer our question?”

Engineers, energy consultants, architects, building portfolio managers, and property managers will learn what data to to gather, how to analyze it and when it makes sense to use energy monitoring hardware. Each student in the course will choose a system or building to measure and work through the entire process, including, when needed, purchasing and installing monitoring gear. Andy Shapiro, the expert instructor and President & Owner of Energy Balance, Inc. will provide feedback every step of the way. Andy’s been providing energy consulting and design services to a wide variety of clients since 1988.

By the end of the course you will know how to:

Andy has designed this new BuildingEnergy Master Series course with Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) to provide the tools and knowledge building professionals need to ask the right questions, develop a plan to collect and catalog the right energy data, understand how the system is working, and figure out how to use the data to save energy and money.

Ready To Sign Up Today? Click Here to Enroll

Hands On Data Collection & Analysis

In this course you'll be designing and implementing a data monitoring system. You'll learn to troubleshoot and optimize building energy systems on all of your projects.

Recommended Prerequisites

For this course, it would be very useful to come in with at least a basic working knowledge of energy use in buildings, such as how to calculate heat loss in a building, for example, and some idea of the energy systems in buildings. Marc Rosenbaum's Zero Net Energy Homes course would be a great introduction to this and gives you many tools for understanding, but that level of knowledge is not critical. Where Marc's course would help you create a great building, this one would help you understand how well it works. It is highly encouraged that you have a building (or buildings) in mind that you would like to analyze with Andy's coaching.

Self Paced Online Course

You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. Get access to all of the course materials as soon as you enroll. The instructor-led session will begin on the scheduled start date. During the session dates the instructor will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board and reviewing project work.

Access Information And Build Your Training Library

After enrolling, the course materials will remain in your account and be accessible 12 months (1 year) after enrollment. Access can be extended beyond 1 year with a monthly membership. Return to your course anytime with online access from anywhere in the world.

Earn A Certificate Of Completion

When you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. You can download your certificate as soon as you have completed all of the course requirements. Students can easily share their verified certificates on their LinkedIn profiles using our one-click LinkedIn integration.

Earn Continuing Education Credits

Self Report with Certificate: 10 AIA LU/HSW Credits, 15 Building Performance Institute (BPI) CEUs, 6 GBCI credits (LEED Professionals)

The greatest part of the course was the simplicity of Andy's tools. He recommended flow meters and high the tools but then gave us simple solutions for taking measurements as well. The best example was flow measurement with a trash bag of known volume. I had to test it immediately! This is a great course for anyone getting into small building or home energy audits. It's also a great course for energy conservation students. Whether you wind up auditing large campuses or tiny houses Andy has highlighted the basics upon which you can build.

- Paula J. Saaf

Our office, which focuses on net zero buildings and other high performance buildings, has worked with Andy Shapiro for many years. He works with us to set energy metrics, design them into projects and to help analyze data that we collect on our buildings. This database of energy use of our projects shows our clients that we are skilled in what we do, and that we care enough to go back and look at actual results. We have found that there is no substitute for this data-based approach to learning how well our buildings are working.

- Bill Maclay, Founding Principal of Maclay Architects and author of 'The New Net Zero'


Andyshapiro protour.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Andy Shapiro

President for Life, Energy Balance, Inc.

With a B.A. in engineering from Brown University, Andy Shapiro, through his company Energy Balance, Inc, has been providing energy consulting and design services to a wide variety of clients since 1988. He works with homeowners, architects, engineers and builders, as well as towns, landlords, non-profit housing organizations, and electric utilities. Services range from...[more]

Course Outline

Welcome - Orientation Materials

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can complete the material whenever is convenient and work ahead or catch up if you fall behind. The course discussion board is a great place to interact with other students and ask questions. Expect to dedicate a minimum of 5 hours per week to the course. This session runs for the posted dates and you will receive weekly emails to keep you on pace. Course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after the course ends. Please review the orientation materials and introduce yourself on the discussion board.

  • Introduction to HeatSpring (1 minute) (Video) preview
  • Set up email notifications and your student profile (Text)
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board (Text)
Week 1 - Establishing Energy Goals and Specific Performance Metrics

We'll begin the course by learning to ask the right questions and lay the foundation for future analysis and decision making. You'll learn to define metrics, develop data analysis formulas and requirements for each, and design a sub-metering strategy for proper measurement and verification.

  • Read: Course Expectations (Download .pdf)
  • Week 1 - Part 1 (39 minutes) (Video)
  • Week 1 - Part 2 (21 minutes) (Video)
  • Presentation slides for Week 1 (Download .pdf)
  • List: Week 1 Resource List (Download .pdf)
  • PDF: Outline for a Building Energy Analytics Study (Download .pdf)
  • PDF: Maclay Architects' Energy Use Intensity Calculator (Download .pdf)
  • Excel: Energy Statistics and Energy Use Intensity for Buildings for Monthly Data (Download .xlsx)
  • Excel: Electric Heat Normalization Worksheet (Download .xlsx)
  • Excel: Building Energy Intensity Calculator (Download .xlsx)
  • Homework: Week 1 Assignments (Download .pdf)
  • Upload Week 1 - Assignment #1 (Submit File)
  • Upload Week 1 - Assignment #1 - Part Two (if necessary) (Submit File)
  • Upload Week 1 - Assignment #2 (Submit File)
  • Excel: Week 1 - Assignment #1 Answers (Download .xlsx)
  • PDF: Week 1 - Assignment #2 "Answers" (Download .pdf)
  • Week 1 - Assignment #2 Response (Download .pdf)
  • Required Posts: Week 1 Discussion Board Prompts (Download .pdf)
Week 2 - Systems for Building Energy Tracking

This week we'll match measurement systems to the data requirements established in the first week. We'll cover the various systems on the market for data storage and retrieval, weighing the pros and cons of each.

  • Week 2 - Part 1 (32 minutes) (Video)
  • Week 2 - Part 2 (23 minutes) (Video)
  • Presentation slides for Week 2 (Download .pdf)
  • List: Week 2 Resource List (Download .pdf)
  • PDF: Brochure for Low Cost Clamp-on Current Transformers (Download .pdf)
  • PDF: Data Sheet for Miniature Split Core Current Transformer (Download .pdf)
  • Homework: Week 2 Assignments (Download .pdf)
  • Upload Week 2 Assignment #1 (Submit File)
  • Upload Week 2 Assignment #2 (Submit File)
  • Required Posts: Week 2 Discussion Board Prompts (Download .pdf)
Week 3 - The Role of Building Energy Analytics in Project Design & Commissioning

When do goals, metrics and specific systems definitions need to be complete at project pre-design, design phases, construction and post occupancy? We'll discuss commissioning the energy metering/storage/retrieval system and look at some publicly accessible building information displays.

  • Week 3 - Part 1 (15 minutes) (Video)
  • Week 3 - Part 2 (26 minutes) (Video)
  • Presentation slides for Week 3 (Download .pdf)
  • List: Week 3 Resource List (Download .pdf)
  • PDF: George D. Aiken Center Renovation Owners Project Requirements (Download .pdf)
  • PDF: Shelburne Farms Residential Learning Center Design Goals, Objectives and Solution Concepts (Download .pdf)
  • Homework: Week 3 Assignment (Download .pdf)
  • Upload Week 2 Assignment (Submit File)
  • Required Posts: Week 3 Discussion Board Prompts (Download .pdf)
Week 4 - Using Building Energy Data for Troubleshooting and Optimization

In this final lesson, we'll diagnose and troubleshoot issues using the data we collect. We'll circle back to the metrics and goals established during week 1 and discuss common and not-so-common fixes to meet those goals.

  • Week 4 - Part 1 (41 minutes) (Video)
  • Week 4 - Part 2 (43 minutes) (Video)
  • Presentation slides for Week 4 (Download .pdf)
  • List: Week 4 Resource List (Download .pdf)
  • PDF: Outline for a Building Energy Analytics Study (Download .pdf)
  • PDF: Building Energy Analytics Capstone Project (Download .pdf)
  • Homework: Week 4 Assignments (Download .pdf)
  • Required Posts: Week 4 Discussion Board Prompts (Download .pdf)
Week 5 - Design & Install an Energy Monitoring System

To finish out the course, each student will pick a system or building to analyze and then work through the entire process above, including purchasing and installing equipment, if the project requires that.

  • Required Post (Text)
  • Outline: Organizing Your Work and Submissions (.docx) (Download .docx)
  • Outline: Organizing Your Work and Submissions (.doc) (Download .doc)
  • Submit Your Final Capstone Project (Submit File)
After The Course - Feedback and Additional Resources

No matter how great this course is, we know it's just one part of a bigger journey. In this module we'll start thinking about what comes next. You'll provide feedback on the course, request a certificate of completion, and learn about additional resources. Don't forget that you'll have access to the course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year). Feel free to come back as much as you like to continue learning, and please stay in touch. Let us know what you do next and how we can help.

  • Fill out this form if you'd like a certificate of completion and/or continuing education credits (CEUs): Certificate of Completion and CEU form (Resource)
  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials (Text)
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey (Survey)
  • Consider Joining as a Founding Member (Resource)
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate (Certificate)

Free Courses on Green Building, Zero Net Energy, Building Science

Building Energy Analytics Case Study

In this lecture, Andy Shapiro will ask and answer questions relative to understanding how well a new, small, well insulated house is performing on energy use and temperature control...

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