The Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) collects information about the energy-related characteristics of commercial buildings in the United States and how much electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, and/or district heat is used within them.
CBECS is the only source of data about all commercial buildings across the country. Different people use the CBECS data for many purposes, including:
Your building was statistically selected to represent many others similar to yours in energy characteristics and use. For the results to be statistically valid and representative of all buildings, we cannot substitute another building for yours.
You should have received a letter in the mail from the Energy information Administration (EIA) introducing the study and notifying you that a professional field interviewer from Westat will visit your building within the coming weeks.
Below are some topics that are covered in the interview. If you gather this information in advance, it will make your interview easier and quicker. A printable version of this list is available here.
We are interested in only the building described by the interviewer and only what was used in calendar year 2018. Consider the entire building, including all businesses and tenants. Some items may not be applicable.
An employee from Westat will contact you to get you started.
We encourage you to complete the questionnaire online via our secure web form. It is user-friendly and can be completed at your convenience. If you prefer, a trained interviewer can help you complete the form. It takes about 50 minutes to complete.
If these options do not work for you, an interviewer can also conduct the interview by phone. After arranging a phone interview, please refer to this Show Card document and follow along during the survey. It provides lists of the available answers for the multiple choice questions and definitions and examples for some of the questions.
Obtaining your building’s energy bills helps CBECS get your energy supplier names and account numbers to collect additional information directly from the suppliers. There are three ways for you to submit your bills:
How do I know this study is legitimate?
All federal government data collections are required to be reviewed by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB number for the 2018 CBECS is OMB No. 1905-0145, Expiration Date 3/31/2022. You may contact the EIA CBECS Manager, Joelle Michaels, at 202-586-8952.
Is my building really "commercial"?
In the CBECS, "commercial" refers to all buildings in which at least half of the floor space is used for a purpose that is not residential, industrial, or agricultural. This definition includes building types that might not traditionally be considered commercial, such as schools, correctional institutions, and buildings used for religious worship, as well as obvious commercial uses such as retail stores and offices.
Am I required to participate?
The CBECS is voluntary. Your participation will contribute greatly to the quality and accuracy of the results, so we encourage you to respond.
What are the benefits of participating?
Data collected from the CBECS allows people in commercial buildings to compare their energy use with similar buildings across the country. You can help both your building and millions of other building owners and tenants become more energy efficient. Energy costs are a large part of operating expenses for a business, and money saved on energy can be spent on something else.
Is the study website secure?
Yes! Westat operates a secure computer facility dedicated to confidentiality and data protection of this and other federal studies. Your data will be encrypted and transmitted to and from Westat web servers through the use of Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology. This proven security protocol is widely used to support e-commerce transactions, server account authentication, and data encryption.
Will the name, location, and other information about the identity of our building remain confidential?
Yes! The information you provide will be used for statistical purposes only and is confidential by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2018 and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your consent. Per the Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2015, Federal information systems are protected from malicious activities through cybersecurity screening of transmitted data. Every EIA employee, as well as every agent, is subject to a jail term, a fine, or both if he or she willfully discloses any identifiable information that you report.
To learn more about EIA and the CBECS, visit www.eia.gov/consumption/commercial
If you have any questions, contact Westat:
Cindy Good, CBECS Director of Study Operations,
1-800-937-8281 or CindyGood@westat.com
To speak directly with someone at the U.S. Department of Energy, contact:
Joelle Michaels, CBECS Manager,
202-586-8952 or Joelle.Michaels@eia.gov