UCL Energy Institute


Building and Energy Data Frameworks


Principal investigator: Philip Steadman
Co-Investigators: Bob Lowe, Alex Summerfield
Researchers: Harry Bruhns, Ian Hamilton
Duration of project: January 2019 – 30 November 2010

Funder: EPSRC
Grant: £239,123

Partners include: Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Energy Saving Trust and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers.

The overall aim of the EPSRC funded Building and Energy Data Frameworks project was to help produce greatly improved data on the building stock of Britain - both domestic and non-domestic - and its uses of energy. The UK Government is committed to reducing the country's carbon emissions to 20% of their present levels by 2050. A great part of this is to be achieved through greater efficiency and new low-carbon technologies in buildings (as well as through decarbonisation of the energy supply system).

Most future national low carbon scenarios incorporate considerable reduction in energy demand. Consequently most countries are now planning significant demand reduction programmes. Delivering this transformation will require a raft of effective technology and policy interventions. These interventions to reduce energy demand require comprehensive empirical observations and evaluation within a robust methodology framework.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is in the process of developing and supporting energy and buildings ‘data frameworks', these are the Homes Energy Efficiency Database (HEED) and the National Energy Efficiency Data Framework (NEED) – which incorporates HEED along with other administrative data sources. The frameworks contain data on the uses and the physical and constructional attributes of buildings and their service systems. As part of DECC’s commitment to energy and buildings research, dwellings in HEED and NEED were linked to data on electricity and gas consumption at the level of individual buildings and premises and analysed. HEED, which is administered for DECC by the Energy Saving Trust (EST), currently contains information on some 13 million dwellings.


The research had four main objectives:

  • To provide theoretical support for the data models and classifications being developed for both HEED and NEED, and protocols for the generation and standardisation of data;

  • To ensure that these models and classifications are consistent with the needs of a range of users;

  • To make exploratory analyses of data in HEED and data produced by the NEED pilot; and,
  • To evaluate the opportunities that the full data frameworks will offer for further research beyond the present project.

Within the domestic sector, the detailed objectives were:

  • To position the existing Home Energy Efficiency Database (HEED) data in relation to national housing statistics, so that allowance could be made for any bias towards homes that have participated in energy improvement programmes, or sub-standard houses;

  • To examine the impact of the annualisation of the meter point data supplied to DECC;

  • To analyse and interpret the data coming from HEED, with special emphasis on setting benchmarks for electricity and gas consumption in different types of house, and the effects of age of dwelling and region on energy use;
  • To identify opportunities for future research based on HEED, as for example the impact of smart metering, or trends in house design and the use of appliances
  • Within the non-domestic sector, the detailed objectives were:
  • To validate and classify the data coming from the NEED pilot, and compare these to national data on the stock;

  • To explore the opportunities created by NEED for refining and developing models of energy use in the non-domestic stock, including the BRE's N-DEEM model and the applicants' own CaRB model;

  • To further develop classifications of activities, fabric, materials, systems and appliances to be used in such models;

  • To analyse and interpret the data coming from the NEED pilot, with special emphasis on setting benchmarks in different types, and the effects of size and age of buildings;

  • To identify opportunities for future research based on NEED, including analyses as above but at the national level, and the study of trends.


The project used HEED linked to gas and electricity consumption data for the domestic portion of the research. This portion of the research is detailed in the report ‘Building and Energy Data Frameworks – Report on the exploratory analysis of the Homes Energy Efficiency Database and Energy Demand’.

Report: ‘Building and Energy Data Frameworks – Report on the exploratory analysis of the Homes Energy Efficiency Database and Energy Demand’

The research on non-domestic work was concentrated in two areas: an analysis of the Display Energy Certificates (DECs), and associating building footprint and premises. On the latter topic, the team carried out some experimental work on matching building footprints from digital maps with administrative data on premises, for which some promising techniques were developed.

The project gained access, through a collaboration with CIBSE, to the underlying energy and physical data behind the 35,000 Display Energy Certificates for public buildings. These were analysed to produce distributions of energy use and carbon emissions per square meter, for comparison with existing CIBSE benchmarks. The results have been published by CIBSE: see the link below.

CIBSE DECs website

Report: ‘CIBSE review of energy benchmarks for display energy certificates – Analyses of DEC results to date’


Details of grant on EPSRC website (opens new page)