Perhaps one silver lining that can be found in the current state of our chronically depressed real estate market is that while new construction is being abandoned, old, drafty buildings are experiencing a second life—thanks in part to smart, energy-efficient retrofits. In Philadelphia, for example, one 40-year old landmark has a set of shiny new windows and a smaller carbon footprint, thanks to a retrofit project funded in part by the DOE.
400 Market Street is a 200,000 square-foot mid-rise that was built in the early 1970s, making it a prime candidate for the DOE project designed to improve the energy efficiency of older buildings throughout the country. As such, the building was picked to be part of a $1.6 million project, funded by the DOE with J. E. Berkowitz LP, Quanta Technologies Inc. and the NAHB Research Center to “demonstrate the ability of low-e retrofit glazing systems to significantly improve the energy efficiency of older commercial and residential buildings” (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/doe-study-shows-window-retrofit-system-slashes-energy-use-at-northeastern-mid-rise-2012-02-27).
Initial estimates by J. E. Berkowitz indicated that the building could reduce annual energy costs by $55,000 as a result of the window retrofit. In truth, preliminary energy audit results indicate that the building is actually outperforming those early projections.
“While our study has just started, preliminary observations are very encouraging,” DOE project manager Thomas Culp is quoted as saying. “In November and early December, the east-facing offices showed about a 27% reduction in heating and cooling energy use, and the north-facing office showed more than a 50% reduction.”
The onsite retrofit involved converting the building’s single-paned windows with triple-glazed insulating glass units (IGUs) developed by local glass fabricator J. E. Berkowitz LP. As part of the project, the NAHB Research Center monitors indoor conditions and energy consumption, and that information is compared between occupied and unoccupied offices, as well as being contrasted with the portions of the building that have not yet undergone renovation.
So what do you think? Do you think building retrofits are getting enough attention? How much of a role has the economic downturn played in the adoption of small-scale renovations and retrofits? And will this sort of demand reduction continue if and when the economy bounces back and traditional fuel prices decrease?
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March 8th, 2012
Reducing Water, Energy, and Tax Bills for Facilities
Are you overpaying on your facility’s three largest variable costs: water, energy, and taxes? Join Fraser Allport, CEO, to explore how to reduce your facility’s utility and tax bills and future-proof for sustained performance by combing green technologies (green hardware and smart software) with government tax incentives in a cost-reduction action plan designed to obtain, quantifiable and sustainable resource and cost-savings results. Read more…
March 15th, 2012
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March 22nd, 2012
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