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Science and Technology Highlights

Highlights in Research & Development

ResStock — Targeting Energy and Cost Savings for U.S. Homes

The ResStock analysis tool is helping states, municipalities, utilities, and manufacturers identify which home improvements save the most energy and money.

Photo of several different colored blocks on a video screen with a man looking at the screen analyzing the data.

ResStock is helping states, municipalities, utilities, and manufacturers identify which home improvements save the most energy and money. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL 45438.

Across the country there’s a vast diversity in the age, size, construction practices, installed equipment, appliances, and resident behavior of the housing stock, not to mention the range of climates. These variations have hindered the accuracy of predicting savings for existing homes. Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed ResStock. It’s a versatile tool that takes a new approach to large-scale residential energy analysis by combining:

  • Large public and private data sources
  • Statistical sampling
  • Detailed subhourly building simulations
  • High-performance computing.

This combination achieves unprecedented granularity and most importantly—accuracy—in modeling the diversity of the single-family housing stock.

With NREL’s Peregrine supercomputer, the ResStock team has run more than 20 million simulations using a statistical model of housing stock characteristics. With this data, researchers have uncovered $49 billion in potential annual utility bill savings through cost-effective energy efficiency improvements.

Detailed information on the technical and economic potential of residential energy efficiency improvements and packages is available for 48 U.S. states. Policymakers, program designers, and manufacturers can use these results to identify improvements with the highest potential for cost-effective savings in a particular state or region, as well as to help identify customer segments for targeted marketing and deployment.

The ResStock software is offered at no cost, leveraging the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) open-source building energy modeling ecosystem of OpenStudio® and EnergyPlus™. Those wanting to run their own analyses—evaluating specific technologies, defining additional cost-effectiveness equations, or plugging in hyperlocal data for a city or utility service territory—can use the free and open-source software themselves (or partner with NREL or a trained consultant).

The ability to run on distributed cloud computing means a supercomputer isn’t required to reap the benefits. Partnerships with industry to adapt ResStock for specific utility, manufacturer, state, and local applications are under development.