Setting a Baseline 

Defining consistent and relevant baselines is important to establishing meaningful benchmarks to track progress and compare performance.

The AIA 2030 Commitment uses CBECS 2003 (Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey) and RECS 2001 (Residential Energy Consumption Survey) as the baseline energy use intensity for whole building projects. Interior-only projects are baselined against ASHRAE 90.1 2007 lighting power density (LPD) values. These baselines were selected at the onset of the 2030 Commitment because they were the best available US data sets. 

Experienced 2030 Commitment reporters recognize that there are different approaches to establishing baselines, which can cause confusion. We recommend the following process for establishing 2030 baselines:

  • Use Zero Tool whenever possible.

  • Some use types such as laboratories are not available, or cannot be accurately benchmarked, in Zero Tool. When available, use alternative benchmarking tools like Labs21 for these use types.

  • Consider using the EDGE tool for baselining international projects.

  • Check to make sure the % savings is reasonable.


More baseline information and guidance on situations with particular challenges can be found in these sections: