The global building sector is responsible for nearly 40% of total carbon emissions, offering great potential to move closer to set climate goals. Energy performance certificates designed to increase the energy efficiency of buildings require accurate predictions of building energy performance. With significant advances in information and communication technology, data-driven methods have been introduced into building energy performance research demonstrating high computational efficiency and prediction performance. However, most studies focus on prediction performance without considering the potential of explainable artificial intelligence. To bridge this gap, the novel QLattice algorithm, designed to satisfy both aspects, is applied to a dataset of over 25,000 German residential buildings for predicting annual building energy performance. The prediction performance, computation time, and explainability of the QLattice is compared to the established machine learning algorithms artificial neural network, support vector regression, extreme gradient boosting, and multiple-linear regression in a case study, variable importance analyzed, and appropriate applications proposed. The results show quite strongly that the QLattice should be further considered in the research of energy performance certificates and may be a potential alternative to established machine learning algorithms for other prediction tasks in energy research.