ACHRNEWS

Standardizing Open Data Tool

November 22, 2010

MALTA, N.Y. - The Building Performance Institute Inc. (BPI) announced steps to standardize an open data collection and reporting tool that can be used by all sectors of the growing home performance industry to easily exchange information online.

The Home Performance Extensible Markup Language (HPXML) data schema was developed by BPI with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding. HPXML is based on exchange capability in use by thousands of contractors in New York state programs and is currently used in the EPA-sponsored Northern Virginia Home Performance with Energy Star® program. The HPXML schema is available in its current form for use by any person or organization through a public BPI-sponsored website, www.homeperformancexml.org

“Our primary goal is to help advance technology that makes life easier for home performance contractors. We want to enable contractors, utilities, customers, and financing entities to share information without imposing a burdensome new data collection process on each new program,” said BPI CEO Larry Zarker. “The data that is collected can be aggregated for analysis, and this allows program sponsors to do things like cost effectively measure the energy savings created by home efficiency improvements. This in turn builds confidence in the home performance industry.”

The HPXML schema is now being reviewed by a BPI standards committee to make HPXML an American National Standard (ANSI Standard). Grantees, managers, and administrators of home performance programs as well as utilities and technical advisors will be invited to participate in the HPXML standard review.

The protocol is in an XML format that can be commonly implemented and followed by contractors, software developers, and database designers. Agreement on making the schema an open standard enables wide use and adaptation across software platforms, and makes submission of data and reporting much easier. Existing and future software can be developed to create a standard data report.

The National Home Performance Council (NHPC) is coordinating with BPI so that its newly developed model forms conform to the XML data transfer standard. NHPC will encourage programs using its model forms to use the standard.

“The beauty of this standard is the built-in flexibility essential to a diverse industry. Different users can utilize only the elements they need,” said NHPC executive director Kara Saul Rinaldi. “BPI’s work on the HPXML standard will be an important part of America’s growing home performance industry.”

Publication date: 11/22/2010