Wiki-energy.org Provides University and NGO Researchers Access to the World’s Largest Energy and Water Use Database

March 6, 2014 ,,

(AUSTIN – March 6, 2014) A consortium of university and NGO researchers announced today the launch of WikiEnergy, a suite of online research tools that includes the world’s largest research database of customer energy and water use. WikiEnergy (www.wiki-energy.org) is available for free to university and NGO researchers conducting scientific and public interest research and curriculum development.

The consortium’s leadership revealed that researchers from over 100 universities in 12 nations have already joined WikiEnergy.

WikiEnergy’s mission is to advance global university-based research and training on data science, energy, engineering, the environment and human behavior. The service will also provide a free set of tools for high school and post-secondary instructors for curriculum development in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

“We are starting with the largest, most detailed database of consumer energy and water use, and we are adding the brightest minds from universities and NGOs around the world,” said Brewster McCracken, CEO of Pecan Street Inc., a University of Texas-based nonprofit research firm that is supporting WikiEnergy.

A lack of accessible data hampers researchers around the world that are working to develop climate change and energy solutions. Some broad level data is available from other sources, but no meaningful data sources are systematically available to the research community on customer-level load profiles, including energy and water use, down to the appliance and circuit level. WikiEnergy provides that access for free to university-sponsored researchers and certain non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

“In energy analytics research, access to large amounts of data is critical. This program is a goldmine,” said Carnegie Mellon University assistant professor Zico Kolter. “It will connect thousands of researchers and students to one of the world’s best energy databases.”

Members will help validate data which will then be quality checked and certified for inclusion in the validated data table. Member researchers will identify and prioritize needed survey, energy audit and other types of static data, provide guidance on database formatting upgrades, and recommend solutions for any persistent data quality issues. Participating researchers have free access to the entire data catalog and will help curate datasets for high school and university research and for incorporation into educational curriculum materials.

The suite of tools launched this week are in beta stage. Free membership to WikiEnergy is restricted to current faculty and graduate students at a four-year postsecondary educational institution in the U.S. or equivalent level of educational institution in other nations and researchers at approved 501(c)(3) research organizations. All applications are submitted online at www.wiki-energy.org.

“WikiEnergy’s research tools are helping EDF unlock environmental benefits and economic savings, providing the proof necessary to encourage innovative business models,” said Environmental Defense Fund project manager Marita Mirzatuny. ”New technology is empowering consumers to save money, cut pollution and improve quality of life. WikiEnergy’s wealth of consumer data is providing researchers, engineers and policy experts with real-world insight into the future of energy and water.”

WikiEnergy consists of three data tables: a pre-validated data table; a validated sets table; and curated data sets. The pre-validated data table will initially be the largest of the tables. Over time, however, the validated data table may become nearly as large or even larger.

WikiEnergy is operated by Pecan Street Research Institute, with oversight and guidance from a board of advisors made up of at least five university faculty from four-year postsecondary educational institutions. Professional staff will be responsible for operating computing systems, database systems, data protection and identity anonymizing protocols, and research participant recruitment.

The WikiEnergy research database will include various time-stamped energy and water use data:

  • Time-stamped, disaggregated electricity use
  • A diversity of building types, such as single family homes, apartments, small commercial, schools and government buildings
  • A diversity of regions around the world, including non-U.S. disaggregated, high resolution residential energy use data
  • Electric vehicle charging patterns
  • Data on behavioral response to interventions in previous studies related to electricity, gas and water use
  • High resolution water use from a diversity of building types and regions
  • High resolution natural gas use from a diversity of building types and regions
  • Profiles from utility scale and distributed renewables
  • Local weather data
  • Wholesale and retail energy pricing data
  • Power plant capacity factor and emissions data

Contact:   Colin Rowan, media@pecanstreet.org, (512) 222-9603
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