New Open-Source Software Will Accelerate Energy Efficiency in Buildings
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched June 11 a free, open-source, standard software application for the management of building performance data, the first such software of its kind. The Standard Energy Efficiency Data platform (SEED) can be used by city governments, researchers, utilities, and others to manage, validate, and share large amounts of data on the energy performance of buildings.
IMT is a SEED Team Member, along with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and software developer Building Energy, Inc.
Three cities–the District of Columbia, Philadelphia, and San Francisco–have already confirmed they will use SEED to manage the data collected through their energy benchmarking and disclosure programs.
SEED will significantly improve the ease and speed with which users manage building energy data. Because it provides a common format, it enables easier sharing and comparison between datasets as well as standardized third-party applications. It allows management and storage of data from multiple sources about the same buildings, and permits collaboration among jurisdictions or other selected external parties.
Version 1 (available now) can handle many kinds of data imported in .CSV format. Version 1.1 and later versions will provide seamless links with related tools such as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, the DOE Buildings Performance Database, and the DOE Commercial Building Energy Asset Scoring Tool.
The core SEED code is open source, so anyone can add onto or modify the software. This makes it vendor-neutral, and allows almost unlimited flexibility to add features for collecting new information and utilizing or visualizing building energy data in new ways.
“SEED represents a big step forward for building energy data,” said Cliff Majersik, executive director of IMT. “As more cities and counties adopt energy benchmarking laws, they are gathering robust new data on energy use in buildings–but until now, there wasn’t a robust, free, and common software application they could use to store, share, and analyze it.
“SEED will not only save staff time and aid in ensuring that data is high quality, it will facilitate collaboration among cities and stimulate innovation by software developers. We’re pleased yet not surprised that the District of Columbia, Philadelphia, and San Francisco have already signed on to use it, and expect more cities to follow.”
Software developers will be able to access data that SEED users choose to share with them, add new functionalities, and develop proprietary add-on tools. The aim of SEED is to provide an open-source, plug-in architecture so that analysis and visualization tools can be added in a modular manner, as well as an Application Programming Interface (API) so that external software tools can have read-write access to the data. These plug-in and API functionalities will be available in the next major release of SEED in late summer 2014.
For more information on the SEED Platform or to get started with Version 1, please contact: SEEDPlatform@ee.doe.gov.