One of the next big leaps in home energy efficiency and market transformation hinges not on some new energy-saving gadget, but on our ability to share data about homes. Specifically, the ability to share standardized data on an individual home’s performance and on the energy upgrades that it received.
To do that, it’s most helpful if everyone is able share information via the same format—and the emerging national data standard for residential energy efficiency that will facilitate this is called Home Performance Extensible Markup Language, or HPXML. If you haven’t yet heard of it, take a moment to get up to speed.
“In California, Build It Green and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) are leading the drive to adopt HPXML for utility rebate programs. We’re collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other national and California-based partners on refining and implementing the new standard,” says Torsten Glidden, Senior Technical Manager at Build It Green (BIG).
(BTW, thanks to the DOE for the recent shout-out on BIG’s industry-leading efforts.)
HPXML’s Big-Picture Benefits
The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR website sums up the purpose of HPXML best: “HPXML was created to achieve some basic goals that are critical to a growing industry.” These goals are outlined below:
California’s Home Upgrade Program adopted HPXML as part of a larger goal of fostering innovation among energy software solutions by creating a competitive marketplace based on transparent data transfer standards.
HPXML’s Real-World Benefits
Imagine talking with ease to someone who speaks a different language. Just think of the possibilities if standardized information on a home’s characteristics, energy performance, and energy upgrades could be captured digitally by contractors and shared via databases with utility programs, market researchers, insurers, lenders, real estate MLS systems, and others:
A Closer Look at HPXML Data Standards
The foundation of HPXML is the data standards pioneered for it by the Build Performance Institute (BPI). BPI developed two primary HPXML standards that can be thought of as a common language to represent, define, and organize data on home performance:
BPI is developing these additional draft standards:
“HPXML makes home performance data more transparent, and for energy rebate programs, it can improve their cost-effectiveness and save time and money for everyone from contractors to program implementers and administrators,” says Glidden. “PG&E’s Home Upgrade Program led the way in California, but other programs here and in other states are transitioning to HPXML as well.”
Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade is funded by California utility Customers and administered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. In PG&E territory the program is implemented by Build It Green.