Recommendation RECS-14: EIA should evaluate whether working more closely with the energy suppliers could lead to procedures and to serve as a source of ideas efficiencies in the data collection process.

Recommendation RECS-15: EIA should test the use of professional energy auditors on a small scale to better understand the costs and benefits related to having experts collect data for a subset of the RECS sample.

Recommendation RECS-17: Interviewer debriefings should become an integral part of the RECS data collection process in order to identify problems with the questionnaires and procedures and to serve as a source of ideas for increased procedures and to serve as a source of ideas efficiencies.

A STATE-OF-THE-ART ENERGY CONSUMPTION DATA COLLECTION PROGRAM

The panel’s recommendations in this report are based on a careful balance between what the data needs are and what is most realistic to implement in the short term. The last chapter of the report outlines some additional ideas that could be considered as part of envisioning a state-of-the-art data collection program for the energy surveys of the future.

A comprehensive approach to collecting building energy consumption information could be based on a sampling frame that includes all buildings, regardless of type. Advances in computer technology and satellite mapping are greatly increasing the feasibility of implementing such a design, and are changing how much of the work can be performed by a computer program prior to, or instead of, field work. Other advances in technology are increasing opportunities for enhancing features of the data collection. For example, it is becoming cheaper and easier to integrate digital images that can help reduce ambiguities surrounding building characteristics or equipment. Increasingly more sophisticated interactive online tools are becoming available and can be used to engage sample members and encourage participation in the surveys.

In terms of possibilities for growth and meeting data needs, EIA could explore opportunities to partner with other government statistical agencies, organizations, or energy suppliers to collect data on specialized topics, without increasing the burden on the current CBECS or RECS. EIA could



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