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Deep Retrofit Resources

18 April 2011 | Posted By Jeff Cole 2,287 views No Comment

If you are not familiar with the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) you should be. With a mission “to drive the efficient and restorative use of resources”, the non-profit develops strategies “to map and drive the transition from coal and oil to efficiency and renewables.” For up-to-date resources supporting high performance energy efficient retrofit of commercial buildings, visit their web site and learn about the RetroFit Initiative.

Within a Built Environment core practice area the RetroFit initiative has been developed to aggressively and strategically improve the efficiency of U.S. commercial building stock, finding “new ways to use less energy to achieve the same—and even better—living and working conditions. We raise the performance and lower the cost of retrofitting existing buildings and develop best practices for new building construction.” The Retrofit Initiative is a part of the Reinventing Fire strategy “a detailed roadmap developed by RMI to employ whole-system thinking and integrative design to move the U.S. off fuels by 2050, led by business, for profit.” (The broader Reinventing Fire initiative also addresses transportation, industry, and electricity sectors of the economy, asking, in the words of RMI’s Amory Lovins, “What is possible, what makes sense, what makes money.”)

The RetroFit Initiative is building upon lessons learned from RMI’s successful work on the recent, deep, Empire State Building retrofit, to inform collaboration “with carefully selected partners, to spur the retrofit of at least 500 influential buildings within five years by developing and amplifying new barrier-busting approaches to accelerating deep, profitable retrofits”. RMI has begun working with a select group of portfolio owners, design teams, property managers, and ESCOs to develop a number of pilot projects that will result in:

  • A Portfolio Approach: providing a “standardized” retrofit process that can be applied to a portfolio of similar buildings, based upon RMI’s analysis and audit approach.
  • Package Retrofits: A set of measures applied to a number of commercial buildings with similar characteristics (e.g, small commercial buildings with individual owners).
  • Optimizing ESCOs: a revamp of esco operating practices to include whole building systems.

These projects will be designed to leverage far wider influence among key market actors and segments. “Our goal is to put the right tools in the hands of designers, engineers and builders, to induce building owners, managers and tenants to demand more efficient buildings, and to transform providers’ capabilities to deliver deep retrofits with a compelling business case.” As an initial step to placing new tools in the right hands, an on-line resource: Retrofit Depot is now available “for building owners, managers and energy services practitioners to discover the business case, best practices and tools for undertaking deep energy efficiency retrofits. RetroFit Depot offers case studies, free energy modeling tools and a step-by-step overview of the deep retrofit process to help owners and energy service practitioners profitably pursue deep retrofits.”

RetroFit Depot tools and resources for service providers, designers, owners, and building operators include:

  • Energy modeling toolkit
  • Energy Model Input Translator – Compilation of spreadsheet based calculators
  • Model Manager – Excel based tool that accesses eQUEST batch processing capabilities
  • LCCA Tool – Excel-based tool
  • Integrated Design Checklist to help determine the viability of various design solutions
  • Why Retrofit? A power point presentation
  • Goals Dashboard

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