ComStock Analysis Tool
ComStock™ allows stakeholders of varying technical inclinations to better understand how the commercial building stock in the United States uses energy and how different technologies and demand-side management strategies could change that energy use pattern in the future.
ComStock is an NREL model of the U.S. commercial building stock. The model takes some building characteristics from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Commercial Prototype Building Models and Commercial Reference Building. However, unlike many other building stock models, ComStock also combines these with a variety of additional public- and private-sector data sets. Collectively, this information provides high-fidelity building stock representation with a realistic diversity of building characteristics.
Understanding how large groups of commercial buildings use energy throughout the day is a challenge. Individual buildings can be modeled or submetered, but doing so for even moderately sized geographic areas can be prohibitively expensive. Utility load research data can provide key insights, but understanding how demand-side management technologies and strategies will impact energy use is difficult. Matching building energy demand with available supplies is more critical than ever, and enabling practitioners to take decisive action remains challenging.
Through support from DOE, researchers at NREL developed ComStock, a sister tool to ResStock™. ComStock relies heavily on several extraordinary efforts spearheaded by private industry, DOE, and academia. Involved stakeholders have enabled the following ComStock capabilities:
- National commercial real estate databases
- Detailed subhourly building simulations
- High-efficiency sampling algorithms
- National and regional energy use surveys
- Advanced metering infrastructure data
- High-performance and cloud computing.
These capabilities represent the work of thousands of researchers and will enable high-fidelity information delivery across stakeholder groups.
ComStock's most notable capability is being able to tailor the results to the question at hand. The results of the model are available at multiple levels:
- Spatial: U.S., state, and, county geographic resolutions
- Temporal: Annual aggregations to 15-minute simulation intervals
- Sectoral: 16 (and counting) building types.
ComStock, although still in a beta stage, will provide access to results through a web visualization tool that will come online sometime in 2020. Additionally, the raw results data sets (estimated at ~10 TB) will be available for download. ComStock is undergoing extensive validation and calibration to both timeseries whole-building and end-use data through the End-Use Load Profiles project and is expected to be fully released in the second half of 2021. ComStock leverages and is deeply indebted to DOE's open-source building energy modeling ecosystem of OpenStudio® and EnergyPlus®.
As part of NREL's Electrification Futures Study, the ComStock team developed a high-resolution data set describing commercial building electrical energy use in 2012. The modeling methods and results are described in the report. Although ComStock was in a very early stage of development at the time, this effort demonstrated the value of high-resolution, bottom-up load modeling capabilities across large geographic areas at an hourly basis.
NREL is developing a city-scale version of the ComStock model for the Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study. In this study, NREL is conducting a series of integrated modeling activities for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to understand the options and tradeoffs among different approaches to realizing the Los Angeles City Council's goal of meeting 100% of electricity demand with renewable resources. These integrated modeling activities involve using the modeling results from ComStock as inputs to distributed PV adoption, distribution feeder, and bulk power capacity expansion and production-cost models.