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See detailOn the surplus accuracy of data-driven energy quantification methods in the residential sector
Wederhake, Lars; Wenninger, Simon; Wiethe, Christian et al

in Energy Informatics (2022), 5(1), 7

Increasing trust in energy performance certificates (EPCs) and drawing meaningful conclusions requires a robust and accurate determination of building energy performance (BEP). However, existing and by ... [more ▼]

Increasing trust in energy performance certificates (EPCs) and drawing meaningful conclusions requires a robust and accurate determination of building energy performance (BEP). However, existing and by law prescribed engineering methods, relying on physical principles, are under debate for being error-prone in practice and ultimately inaccurate. Research has heralded data-driven methods, mostly machine learning algorithms, to be promising alternatives: various studies compare engineering and data-driven methods with a clear advantage for data-driven methods in terms of prediction accuracy for BEP. While previous studies only investigated the prediction accuracy for BEP, it yet remains unclear which reasons and cause–effect relationships lead to the surplus prediction accuracy of data-driven methods. In this study, we develop and discuss a theory on how data collection, the type of auditor, the energy quantification method, and its accuracy relate to one another. First, we introduce cause–effect relationships for quantifying BEP method-agnostically and investigate the influence of several design parameters, such as the expertise of the auditor issuing the EPC, to develop our theory. Second, we evaluate and discuss our theory with literature. We find that data-driven methods positively influence cause–effect relationships, compensating for deficits due to auditors’ lack of expertise, leading to high prediction accuracy. We provide recommendations for future research and practice to enable the informed use of data-driven methods. [less ▲]

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See detailBenchmarking building energy performance: Accuracy by involving occupants in collecting data - A case study in Germany
Wederhake, Lars; Wenninger, Simon; Wiethe, Christian et al

in Journal of Cleaner Production (2022), 379

Energy performance certificates (EPC) aim to provide transparency about building energy performance (BEP) and benchmark buildings. Despite having qualified auditors examining buildings through on-site ... [more ▼]

Energy performance certificates (EPC) aim to provide transparency about building energy performance (BEP) and benchmark buildings. Despite having qualified auditors examining buildings through on-site visits, BEP accuracy in EPCs is frequently criticized. Qualified auditors are often bound to engineering-based energy quantification methods. However, recent studies have revealed data-driven methods to be more accurate regarding benchmarking. Unlike engineering methods, data-driven methods can learn from data that non-experts might collect. This raises the question of whether data-driven methods allow for simplified data collection while still achieving the same accuracy as prescribed engineering-based methods. This study presents a method for selecting building variables, which even occupants can reliably collect and which at the same time contribute most to a data-driven method's predictive power. The method is tested and validated in a case study on a real-world data set containing 25,000 German single-family houses. Having all data collected by non-experts, results show that the data-driven method achieves about 35% higher accuracy than the currently used engineering method by qualified auditors. Our study proposes a stepwise method to design data-driven EPCs, outlines design recommendations, and derives policy implications. [less ▲]

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