Document Type


Publication Date



Current approaches to building efficiency diagnoses include conventional energy audit techniques that can be expensive and time consuming. In contrast, virtual energy audits of readily available 15-minute-interval building electricity consumption are being explored to provide quick, inexpensive, and useful insights into building operation characteristics. A cross sectional analysis of six buildings in two different climate zones provides methods for data cleaning, population-based building comparisons, and relationships (correlations) of weather and electricity consumption. Data cleaning methods have been developed to categorize and appropriately filter or correct anomalous data including outliers, missing data, and erroneous values (resulting in < 0.5% anomalies). The utility of a cross-sectional analysis of a sample set of building’s electricity consumption is found through comparisons of baseload, daily consumption variance, and energy use intensity. Correlations of weather and electricity consumption 15-minute interval datasets show important relationships for the heating and cooling seasons using computed correlations of a Time-Specific-Averaged-Ordered Variable (exterior temperature) and corresponding averaged variables (electricity consumption)(TSAOV method). The TSAOV method is unique as it introduces time of day as a third variable while also minimizing randomness in both correlated variables through averaging. This study found that many of the pair-wise linear correlation analyses lacked strong relationships, prompting the development of the new TSAOV method to uncover the causal relationship between electricity and weather. We conclude that a combination of varied HVAC system operations, building thermal mass, plug load use, and building set point temperatures are likely responsible for the poor correlations in the prior studies, while the correlation of time-specific-averaged-ordered temperature and corresponding averaged variables method developed herein adequately accounts for these issues and enables discovery of strong linear pair-wise correlation R values. TSAOV correlations lay the foundation for a new approach to building studies, that mitigates plug load interferences and identifies more accurate insights into weather-energy relationship for all building types. Over all six buildings analyzed the TSAOV method reported very significant average correlations per building of 0.94 to 0.82 in magnitude. Our rigorous statistics-based methods applied to 15-minute-interval electricity data further enables virtual energy audits of buildings to quickly and inexpensively inform energy savings measures.

Publication Title









Cleveland Foundation; Advanced Research Projects Agency, Energy (ARPA-E), U.S. Department of Energy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.