Quantifying the benefits of a building retrofit using an integrated system approach: A case study

TitleQuantifying the benefits of a building retrofit using an integrated system approach: A case study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsCynthia Regnier, Kaiyu Sun, Tianzhen Hong, Mary Ann Piette
JournalEnergy and Buildings
KeywordsBuilding retrofit, building simulation, Energy conservation measures, energy savings, integrated design, integrated system

Building retrofits provide a large opportunity to significantly reduce energy consumption in the buildings sector. Traditional building retrofits focus on equipment upgrades, often at the end of equipment life or failure, and result in replacement with marginally improved similar technology and limited energy savings. The Integrated System (IS) retrofit approach enables much greater energy savings by leveraging interactive effects between end use systems, enabling downsized or lower energy technologies. This paper presents a case study in Hawaii quantifying the benefits of an IS retrofit approach compared to two traditional retrofit approaches: a Standard Practice of upgrading equipment to meet minimum code requirements, and an Improved Practice of upgrading equipment to a higher efficiency. The IS approach showed an energy savings of 84% over existing building energy use, much higher than the traditional approaches of 13% and 33%. The IS retrofit also demonstrated the greatest energy cost savings potential. While the degree of savings realized from the IS approach will vary by building and climate, these findings indicate that savings on the order of 50% and greater are not possible without an IS approach. It is therefore recommended that the IS approach be universally adopted to achieve deep energy savings.