The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relevance of building thermal performance and characteristics to building energy consumption. This paper reports an energy analysis of 4625 office buildings in Seoul, South Korea, using data from the Korean national building energy database and architectural database. The following four research questions were investigated: (1) Do old buildings consume more energy than new ones? (2) Have strict prescriptive building energy codes contributed to the reduction in energy use intensity (EUI, kWh/m2
·year) over the past several decades? (3) What are the characteristics of building energy consumption in terms of season, age, and cooling system (electric chiller vs absorption chiller)? (4) Which factors in the Korean building energy database are relevant to building energy consumption? The analyses revealed that, contrary to common assumptions, new buildings did not always consume less energy than old buildings, and it may be wrong to attribute intensification of prescriptive building energy codes directly to building energy efficiency improvements. In addition, the building characteristics (i.e., district, year built, number of floors, number of elevators, and total floor area) available in the Korean building energy database do not adequately explain building energy consumption, and the existing data collection method needs further improvement.
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