Carnegie Mellon University
2016_MSSD Thesis_Renee Sharma.pdf (9.06 MB)

Multivariate Statistical Analyses of Building Assests and Energy Loads

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posted on 2023-08-24, 20:03 authored by Renee Sharma

To reduce the use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions for the energy needs of buildings, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) introduced Act 129 on October 15, 2008 (Pennsylvania PUC, n.d.). This bill sets reduction in electric consumption, and in demand as its main goal. To achieve the maximum benefit, this bill has been implemented in phases: 

  • Phase I: 3% electricity reduction by 2013 
  • Phase II: 2.3% statewide electric reduction, with PECO reducing about 3%, by 2016 
  • Phase III: 4.2% statewide electric reduction, with PECO reducing 5.3%, by 2021 
  • Phase IV: 0.75% average electric reduction (per year), by 2026 
  • Phase V: 0.75% average electric reduction (per year), by 2031 

Phases I and II were more geared towards taking advantage of what is called the ‘low hanging fruits’ of the building industry, to reduce electric consumption and achieve demand reduction. These consisted of easily identifiable building attributes, like lighting or window type and glazing that would provide the maximum impact with minimum of effort. Phase III, on the other hand, would now need to focus more comprehensive measures to create ‘rebate packages’ under the purview of systems integration, instead of rebates for individual attributes. A higher window to wall area ratio (WWr) would correspond to increased daylit areas and lower seasonal energy bills, but only if this attribute is coupled with the number of glazing layers, specifications of the glazing – visual transmittance (Tvis) and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), the kind of shading provided to the interior as well as exterior of the walls, the cooling systems used and its efficiency along with its operation schedule, to name a few. A single attribute would show a relatively less impact on a buildings’ energy usage, when compared to a group of attributes and their interconnections. Hence, the rebates for Phase III would have to target not just one attribute, but maybe a multitude of them, to achieve the desired results. (Pennsylvania DEP, 2015). 

Phase III of Act 129 begins from the year 2016, and utilities will now face the decision of restructuring rebates again - which rebates to roll forward, which to discontinue and which new ones to create. This synthesis will investigate the link between the process of rebate structuring and the methodology previously developed by CMU that identifies which rebates to target, by analyzing groups of attributes against the buildings’ energy bills. 




Degree Type

  • Master's Thesis


  • Architecture

Degree Name

  • Master of Science in Sustainable Design (MSSD)


Erica Cochran

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