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In recent years, a great deal of effort has been expended collecting data about the actual energy performance of buildings and their equipment. These studies have been motivated by a wide range of needs and purposes, and have been sponsored by many different types of organizations. Such measured energy-use data collection projects include large-scale surveys by federal government agencies and very detailed monitoring of individual buildings by research laboratories. They also include studies of energy conservation potential by utilities interested in demand side management, and tracking of the energy performance of a private stock of buildings by private property managers.

ASHRAE's FIND Directory has more limited objectives than other projects defined in this study, but a much broader range of interest. The limited objective is to only describe existing energy use databases. The description includes the subject area, application, level of detail, and availability of each database. The purpose of the project was to survey existing database holders and request descriptions of their databases. There has been no attempt to verify the information provided, nor to compile the source data into a master database.

The ASHRAE FIND project has a broader range of interest than other efforts described in this study, in that it encompasses any database which describes measured energy use associated with buildings. While most of the other projects concentrate on one fuel type or have a regional focus, the ASHRAE FIND project is interested in datasets regardless of fuel type or location. Any measured energy use associated with buildings or their equipment is of interest: whether measured in situational or in laboratory conditions, or regardless of measurement methodology or level of detail. Neither the size nor the age of the project was judged a limiting factor. Both electronic and hard copy data are to be included.

The results of the survey of database holders are to be distributed in electronic format as a user-friendly electronic Directory. The ASHRAE FIND Directory will be made available, first to participants in the study, and then to the general public.