Module 3: Practicum – From Building Data to Analysis

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Link to Module 1: Introduction to Advanced Benchmarking
Link to Module 2: Portfolio Manager and FirstView
Link to Module 4: Controls in ZNE Buildings

With your new understanding and experience using these foundational tools, you’re ready to take on a real world example. Starting with real building data from utility meters (provided), you’ll set up a building profile in Portfolio Manager for benchmarking. You will upload data, analyze the data, and run a virtual audit of the building using FirstView.

Learning Objectives

  • Create Portfolio Manager account and upload sample building data
  • Extract and download building data using Portfolio Manager
  • Upload building data to FirstView
  • Analyze buildings using FirstView
  • Interpret FirstView analysis results



All of the building energy consumption data and characteristics needed are included in this spreadsheet.

To complete this assignment, you will need to perform each of the following steps:

  1. Download the spreadsheet containing the building data.
  2. Choose at least 3 of the 15 available buildings to study.
  3. Upload the buildings to Portfolio Manager. This involves several steps:

a) Create the building profiles in your account
b) Add meters for gas and electricity usage for each of the buildings
c) Add the utility data to each of the meters

Steps a-c can be completed manually, or, more efficiently, uploaded directly into Portfolio Manager by creating, filling and uploading template spreadsheets for each step (See tutorial video from Module 2 for a refresher).

  1. Once the buildings, meters and data are all included in Portfolio Manager, download the entire portfolio (My Portfolio Tab, Download Entire Portfolio Button of the Left Sidebar).
  2. Using the downloaded data as is, upload the information to the FirstView tool. Ensure that the upload was successful and that all of the buildings and data are included. In case you have trouble with this step, you can use this sample data.
  3. Alternately, building information can be entered manually into FirstView one building at a time.
  4. Analyze your selected buildings, using whichever 12-month period you would like.


Once you have results for at least 3 buildings, carefully review the outputs and ask yourself the following questions. Answers to these questions do not need to be submitted – this is a rhetorical exercise.

  • Calculate the EUI manually; does it match the results out of FirstView?
  • Do the end-uses match what you would expect based on the climate zones of the buildings?
  • Does the energy usage follow patterns you would expect for the particular building type?
  • What are the top priority improvements for these buildings? Be sure to consider potential energy savings, costs of implementing the improvements, upfront costs, etc.


We have run this same analysis for the latest 12 months of data for each of the buildings and compiled the results. Once you are confident in your results, take a look at ours to compare your work with our results:
FirstView Sample Analysis Results – NBI



These modules were developed in partnership with South Seattle College for the Sustainable Building Science Technology program.



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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1406320.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.