FirstView / October 15, 2018 / Building Innovation / Benchmarking & Feedback

FirstView is a software tool that enables building owners and designers to extract more targeted and useful energy performance information from basic data inputs. The software takes in basic building data and one year’s energy usage and uses multivariable regression analysis to come up with a physical simulation model of the building. The outputs are simple but powerful: we can disaggregate end uses (heating, cooling, electric baseload, and gas/steam baseload), provide diagnostic recommendations for those end-use categories, and compare a building’s energy performance to benchmark values or to previous years’ performance. This means we can go beyond basic EUI comparisons to help building owners and managers prioritize energy audit efforts and focus on the best retrofit opportunities.

The majority of commercial buildings have little or no readily available feedback on energy performance. Utility bills provide some insight, but their potential to target particular areas for energy savings is limited. Developed by New Buildings Institute and tested on thousands of buildings, the FirstView tool automatically creates a simplified building energy model that can quickly diagnose opportunities for improvement and automatically compare a building’s performance against peers. Using only monthly utility bills and a few building characteristics, NBI’s FirstView software and services can help move beyond a static benchmarking score allowing you to invest audit resources where they will be most effective. FirstView  analysis can be conducted on nearly any building but is most useful for commercial and multifamily buildings without major process loads. Learn more about FirstView with the following resources:

NBI and partners have used FirstView as a component of a larger framework that portfolio holders, especially local governments, can use to take a strategic, long-term approach to improving building energy performance across their portfolio of buildings. Cities around the country have successfully used FirstView to inform their facilities strategic planning process. FirstView analysis can provide a low-cost, high-impact analysis of buildings across a portfolio. Learn more about Public Buildings Portfolio Management here. NBI also uses FirstView to support sector-specific decarbonization efforts in hard-to-decarbonize buildings like museums and other cultural institutions. FirstView analysis formed the basis for recommendations in the groundbreaking Culture over Carbon project (learn more about that work here).

Interactive dashboards are a useful way to present the information in a FirstView Portfolio Report without having to read through a long document. See an interactive sample FirstView Portfolio Analysis dashboard here.

FirstView Diagram

NBI provides custom analysis services and portfolio evaluations, contact us for more information.

FirstView development was supported from the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Kresge Foundation. Initial support was also provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.