The goal of this major research project, funded by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Association (NEEA), was to survey energy usage for over 1,700 homes throughout the Northwest. O’Brien & Company was hired to gather data in the Puget Sound region, and visited 170 multifamily residential buildings. The data collected will inform future utility rebate programs.
O’Brien & Company managed the Puget Sound team of in-house staff and contractors to collect and verify the data points needed. Our team of surveyors collected two sets of data: human behavior and building information.
To start, surveyors conducted property manager and maintenance staff interviews. Interviews helped to identify not only how the building was run and maintained but also to create a bird’s eye view of how tenants interacted with the building and how that affected the property’s energy use.
Surveyors also interviewed tenants in each building. Tenants were asked to share information about their thermal comfort, indoor air quality, and household energy use trends. They also gave permission for researchers to see their actual utility use. While in the units, surveyors took note of additional details such as plug loads, lighting fixtures and window types.
Finally, surveyors also gathered data around the building as a whole. This included analysis of building plans and the collection of details about building envelope components, building and glazing orientation, energy-using systems and building system controls. Pairing utility data with organizational procedures, human behavior patterns and building components will help identify areas that have the most room for improvement. O’Brien & Company finished their survey work in 2012. For more information about the final report, contact NEEA.