The Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) announced steps to standardize an open data collection and reporting tool that can be used by all sectors of the growing home performance industry, to easily exchange information online.
The Home Performance Extensible Markup Language (HPXML) data schema was developed by BPI with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). HPXML is based on exchange capability used by thousands of contractors in New York state programs, and is currently used in the EPA-sponsored Northern Virginia Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program.
The HPXML schema is available in its current form for use by any person or organization through a public BPI-sponsored web site, www.homeperformancexml.org.
“Our primary goal is to help advance technology that makes life easier for home performance contractors. We want to enable contractors, utilities, customers and financing entities to share information without imposing a burdensome new data collection process on each new program,” says BPI CEO Larry Zarker.
“The data that's collected can be aggregated for analysis, and this allows program sponsors to do things like cost effectively measure the energy savings created by home efficiency improvements. This in turn builds confidence in the home performance industry.”
Adoption of HPXML as a BPI standard would enable BPI to communicate more easily with contractors and improve the efficiency of quality assurance.
The HPXML schema is now being reviewed by a BPI standards committee to make HPXML an American National Standard (ANSI Standard). The HPXML standard will be a tool that allows users to exchange as much or as little information as they need to meet their own objectives or program requirements. Adoption of HPXML as a BPI standard would enable BPI to communicate more easily with contractors and improve the efficiency of quality assurance. HPXML is also a broad standard that would enable home performance programs, financial entities and utility rebate-driven programs to easily report and share data. Grantees, managers, and administrators of home performance programs as well as utilities and technical advisors will be invited to participate in the HPXML standard review.
HPXML was reviewed earlier this year by an advisory group including representatives of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), utilities, program administrators, home performance contractors and software developers. The advisory group coordinated its work on the standard with other efforts in the home performance industry to standardize data collection and to make data accessible. BPI also worked with Performance Systems Development, LLC (PSD), which created the draft schema on which the data transfer standard is based.
“It's time for the energy efficiency industry to become efficient,” said Greg Thomas, chair of Efficiency First, a home performance industry trade association. “This standard will help contractors and energy efficiency programs across the country. This is critical technology to put in place just as efficiency investments are rapidly expanding.”
The protocol is in an XML format that can be commonly implemented and followed by contractors, software developers and database designers. Agreement on making the schema an open standard enables wide use and adaptation across software platforms, and makes submission of data and reporting much easier. Existing and future software can be developed to create a standard data report.
The National Home Performance Council (NHPC) is coordinating with BPI so that its newly developed model forms conform to the XML data transfer standard. NHPC will encourage programs using its model forms to use the standard. The NHPC works with federal and state government agencies, utilities, contractors, energy efficiency advocates on projects that support Home Performance with Energy Star™ initiatives, and increase public awareness about the many benefits of the Home Performance approach.
“The beauty of this standard is the built-in flexibility essential to a diverse industry. Different users can utilize only the elements they need,” says NHPC Executive Director, Kara Saul Rinaldi. “BPI’s work on the HPXML Standard will be an important part of America’s growing home performance industry,” Rinaldi says.
The BPI HPXML development is part of an EPA program to improve the effectiveness and quality of energy efficiency retrofits. The long-term goal of the program, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES), is to lower energy expenditures and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For more information, visit www.homeperformanceXML.org