Approaches to reducing energy consumption in multi-family residential buildings can benefit from being more intentionally integrated with non-energy urban planning efforts. Despite the large volume of energy data available, some of the data that would be useful to plan more sustainable urban development or retrofit existing building stocks are incomplete or not integrated with data that is being used for decision-making. This article identifies data issues that limit the effectiveness of energy efficiency planning efforts and proposes solutions to surmount these challenges. Further, the role of an Energy Urban Planner (EUP) is proposed to resolve the identified gaps with consideration for more thoughtful and integrated planning approach. Lastly, the article discusses the potential implications of an EUP role for both urban planning more broadly and specific approaches to reduce energy consumption. The methodology combines qualitative research with key energy efficiency decision-makers in three municipalities and a data quality and spatial analysis case study of Chicago Energy Benchmarking data. The qualitative research consisted of interviews that were conducted to explore how municipalities and NGOs plan efforts to reduce energy consumption in multi-unit residential buildings. In the case study, 2017 energy benchmarking data (reported in 2018) are analyzed for data quality issues and patterns that emerge from geographic and urban form variables. The qualitative findings are combined with the results from the Chicago case study to identify the need for more integrated urban planning. The objective is to highlight data that can be intentionally integrated to bolster energy efficiency efforts across professions.
Keywords energy consumption, energy use intensity, data quality, energy planning