The EPA doesn’t know the basis for its own ENERGY STAR building model

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues ENERGY STAR building ratings for 11 different kinds of commercial buildings.  The so-called Technical Methodology for each of these building ratings is described in documents posted on the EPA web site.  Presumably anyone can work through the details of these technical documents to duplicate the EPA’s methodology.

But this is not the case for one of the models — that for Medical Office buildings.  If you follow the instructions set forth in the EPA’s document for extracting the building records from the 1999 CBECS on which this model is based you do not obtain the list of 82 buildings the EPA claims are the basis for this model.  Instead you obtain a list of 71 buildings.  Furthermore, if you calculate the mean properties of this set of 71 buildings you do not obtain those published by the EPA for this building set.  And finally, if you perform the regression the EPA says it has applied to these buildings you obtain different results than those published by the EPA.  In short, it is clear that the EPA’s Technical Methodology document for Medical Offices does not correctly describe their model.

I have petitioned the EPA through the Freedom of Information Act to supply the list of CBECS 1999 building ID’s that are used this model (EPA-HQ-2013-009270).   The EPA has responded that it does not have this list.  This means that the EPA not only has incorrectly described its own Medical Office model — it does not even know what the basis for this model is!  Its document describing the Technical Methodology for this model is fiction — just like the ENERGY STAR scores the EPA hands out for Medical Office buildings.

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