Action-oriented benchmarking for

non-residential buildings

In isolation, benchmarking can inspire action but provides no practical guidance. LBNL's "Action-oriented" Benchmarking (AOB) System bridges this gap by providing a standardized opportunity assessment based on benchmarking results, along with decision-support information to help refine action plans. This project is sponsored by the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.

The AOB System is a web service consisting of a set of benchmarking analysis and and visualization methods that draw upon a database containing sets buildings that can be combined in various ways to obtain "peer groups" against which individual buildings can be compared.

  1. Methods: A wide array of benchmark metrics are offered, with visual as well as tabular display. Metrics include energy, greenhouse-gas emissions, costs, and characteristics (e.g. building components or operational strategies). The methods also include logical structures for inferring likely energy-efficiency opportunities ("actions"). Methods include cross-sectional benchmarking for comparing the user's building to its peers, as well as longitudinal benchmarking for tracking the performance of an individual building or enterprise portfolio over time.
  2. Database: The database initially includes the latest California Commercial End-Use Survey (CEUS), which provides details on energy use and characteristics for about 2800 buildings (and 62 building types). CEUS is likely the most thorough survey of its kind ever conducted. Other datasets are being added. Data for users of benchmarking tools built on the web service are also stored in the database.

We have developed the first tool built on the AOB System--known as EnergyIQ--and a wide range of other tools can be created by third-party developers using the same system.

Resources for Third-Party Developers

1. Utilizing The Web Service


This web service (programmed in is designed for software developers seeking to store building information in LBNL's Action-oriented Benchmarking (AOB) System (ABS) and/or run queries against existing building information through an interface of their own design. The AOB System provides a programmatic interface to its datasets, benchmarking methods, and data visualization options via Web Services Definition Language (WSDL). This utilizes a SOAP-XML based protocol to transfer data to and from the AOB System.


Two main services will be provided for the outside developer:

  1. Store Building Information: By constructing an XML document validated against our WSDL, the third-party developer will be able to submit a building to be stored in the AOB System. This may be for end-user-oriented benchmarking purposes or the storage of 'dummy' buildings for research purposes. The developer has the opportunity within their document to designate whether this building will be private (viewable by only them), or public (other's query results will include data from their building).
  2. Run Queries Against Existing Building Information: Using a differently formatted XML document, the user will be able to define a base set of search criteria with optional criteria to help constrain the query results. The resultant dataset in XML form will be devoid of all presentation format. It is thus up to the developer to implement display or further data processing. They will be able to specify the dataset of public and/or private building information to be used.

If the developer is not familiar with this type of web "API", please refer to the References section below for pointers on how to start.

If the developer is not skilled in this realm of development, the AOB System designers suggest that they not attempt development until they have sufficient XML/SOAP experience. The process involves a learning curve, don't fool yourself!

With that being said, the AOB System team will offer support and timely fixes for bugs and be receptive to feature requests and extension/normalization of the WSDL.


The developer should:

  • Be familiar with writing (coding) XML documents.
  • Understand the SOAP-XML technology.
  • Be well-versed in writing WSDL clients to send and receive the SOAP-XML.




XML / WSLD Editors:

As always, Google is your friend.

You may download the AOB System [WSDL] document here. <URL to be added later>

2. Licensing

Those wishing to utilize the AOB System web service must complete a simple licensing and registration process. Contact us for more information.

To be kept informed of the progress of this project, please register here.


Have you always wondered what aktivno-orijentisano-ispitivanje is? This page is translated to Serbo-Croation here.


Other LBNL Benchmarking projects