SRS Blog

Building energy efficiency insights from the innovators behind EPIC
August 15, 2022

What’s New with EPIC: Mixed-use Building Feature


As a pioneer in cloud-based building energy performance assessment technology, SRS has earned a reputation for developing cutting edge software, data, and predictive analytics solutions. Our latest innovation is the Energy Performance Improvement Calculator (EPIC™).

EPIC continues to be enthusiastically adopted across the ecosystem of energy efficiency project professionals for its ability to help drive sales of high efficiency equipment.

New Feature

Based on EPIC user requests, we are pleased to announce the launch of the EPIC Mixed-use Building feature. This new capability enables EPIC users, in real time with minimal data inputs, to estimate energy savings for mixed-use project scenarios:

  • Whole building: when HVAC and other equipment serves the entire building.
  • Per use area: when HVAC and other equipment serves an independent use area.

Mixed-use buildings combine multiple use types into a single building, e.g., ground floor retail and upper floor office space. When a building’s primary use type occupies at least 75% of the gross floor area (GFA), consistent with EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager’s methodology, EPIC assumes the whole building’s use as this primary use type. As such, if 75% of the building GFA is office space and 25% retail space, EPIC assumes the whole building’s use type as office.

This “Single-use” assumption typically works well when the energy use intensity (EUI) of the secondary use type(s) is consistent with that of the primary use. However, in cases where the secondary use(s) EUI is inconsistent with the primary use EUI, error can be introduced in the energy savings calculations.

For example, consider a four-story mixed-use building with 25,000 sq. ft. of ground floor retail space with an EUI of 150 kBtu/SF-yr and 3 floors, 75,000 sq. ft. of office use with an EUI of 65 kBtu/SF-yr. If the entire building is assumed to be a single-use office, then the building’s EUI would be 65 kBtu/SF-yr. However, if the building is assumed to be mixed-use retail (25,000 sq. ft.) and office (75,000 sq. ft.), then the whole building EUI would be approximately 87 kBtu/SF-yr. In other words, assuming single-use office would introduce an EUI error of over 30%. 

To reduce this potential error in mixed-use buildings, EPIC enables users to select the mixed-use types contained in their building (EPIC supports up to 5 mixed-use spaces per building) and estimate the EUI, energy consumption and energy cost of each use and then aggregates the results at the whole building level.

Assuming the EPIC user does not have access to actual utility bill energy consumption data for each building use, EPIC first identifies the energy consumption of each use space based upon the building’s location (weather), use (EUI) and GFA. If each use type has its own independent heating and cooling system, EPIC will use the estimated end-use energy consumption of each use type to estimate the whole building’s energy savings.

If the EPIC user has access to whole building actual utility bill energy consumption data, EPIC enables the user to proportion these consumption data to each use type based upon the relative EUIs for each use type. EPIC then estimates end-use energy consumption for each use type based upon end-use percentages typically associated with the particular use type and building location.

Once EPIC calculates weather normalized energy end-use values for each use type, the EPIC user can input their proposed energy improvements and estimate energy savings based on the mixed-use building’s existing HVAC and other equipment infrastructure, i.e., whole building or per use area.

For mixed-use buildings the EPIC Report PDF now includes key metrics for each use space in addition to the whole building-level.

How does EPIC apply Credits for mixed-use building scenarios?

Single-use buildings require one Credit and mixed-use buildings require one additional Credit – regardless of how many mixed-use spaces are included in a building. For example:

  • Mixed-use scenario with 2 building use spaces = 2 Credits
  • Mixed-use scenario with 4 building use spaces = 2 Credits

To learn more about how this new EPIC Mixed-use Building feature can help accelerate your energy efficiency project proposals, Contact Us to schedule a demonstration.

About the Author

Brian J. McCarter is Chief Executive Officer at Sustainable Real Estate Solutions. Mr. McCarter has been a leader in the commercial real estate software and due diligence information services market for over 25 years. He may be contacted through our Contact page.