Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Plumbing System Models for a Set of Reference Buildings



Stephen Zimmerman, Andrew K. Persily


Reference buildings have been defined previously and successfully applied to energy and indoor air quality analyses, providing a platform for consistent comparisons between different building design and operation scenarios. One such set of reference buildings, the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) suite of homes, is a collection of dwellings developed to represent 80 % of the U.S. housing stock at the time of their development [1]. A second set is the Department of Energy's commercial prototype building models, which is a collection of buildings developed to represent U.S. commercial and institutional buildings [2]. These building models allow for the assessment of new technologies and the resulting impacts on building energy efficiency, ventilation, and indoor air quality. In addition to the aforementioned aspects of building performance, water quality and efficiency are also of current interest [3]. A building's premise plumbing system plays a critical role in managing water quality and efficiency by bringing in clean, potable water and removing wastewater and can impact health and safety of building occupants. Using models to evaluate the performance of premise plumbing systems can be useful but most studies have considered different buildings with different plumbing systems. In order to support more consistent modeling efforts, NIST has developed premise plumbing system models for three residential buildings and four commercial buildings and has made them available for researchers and industry to analyze system performance, new technologies, and design & operation strategies. This report describes the seven plumbing system designs, how they were developed and how they can be accessed.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 2266
Report Number


analysis, dwelling, potable, premise plumbing, reference building


Zimmerman, S. and Persily, A. (2023), Plumbing System Models for a Set of Reference Buildings, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed June 19, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created September 21, 2023