The services sector has the least amount of energy end use data available, which poses significant challenges to companies within the sector attempting to benchmark their energy performance and inform energy management decisions. This paper explores through a case study analysis the use of simple performance indicators and how additional data and new metrics can greatly enhance the understanding of energy trends and in particular the assessment of building energy performance. The country chosen for the analysis is Ireland, where the services sector has experienced high energy demand growth since 1990 (4.1 % annually) compared with the EU-15 (1.5% annually). Despite this growth, the available energy data is poor, in particular for the public service sub-sectors. The case study chosen is an institution within the education sub-sector, University College Cork. The paper presents some simple energy performance indicators that have been used to date to inform energy policy. The paper then introduces new approaches and tools for assessing energy performance in buildings and how these may be utilised to improve the energy policy decision making and energy management. It discusses how these approaches are been implemented for buildings with separate functions, presents some initial results and discusses future planned work. (c) 2006 Published by Elsevier B.V.