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Bridging the Gap Between Commissioning Measures and Large Scale Retrofits in Existing Buildings
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Most often commissioning of existing buildings seeks to reduce a building’s energy consumption by implementation of operational changes via the existing equipment. In contrast, large scale capital retrofits seek to make major changes to the systems installed in the building to reach the same goal. The purpose of the investigations presented here is to find energy-saving measures which economically fall between the retro-commissioning measures which typically have very short paybacks and the large scale capital retrofits which typically have significantly longer paybacks. Based on a simulation analysis of three previously retro-commissioned university buildings, it was determined that all three are currently consuming more energy than would be expected under ideal operating conditions. The simulation estimated annual savings potential for the three buildings range from 28-44% of whole building energy consumption. A research level assessment of each has been conducted to identify the reasons why the subject buildings are not operating as efficiently as possible and energy saving measures are presented to bring the buildings as close to ideal operation as possible. This work seeks to determine if an on-site assessment can identify commissioning measures that realize a substantial portion of the indicated savings potential or whether it appears that there are reasons that would preclude commissioning measures from achieving significant savings. If it is not practical to implement commissioning measures due to antiquated controls, missing sensors, or other reasons, these investigations identify rapid payback retrofit measures that achieve as much of the projected savings as possible. The analysis indicates that 30-100% of the estimated savings potential can be realized in the three subject buildings with estimated paybacks of less than 3 years.
Bynum, J.; Jones, A.; Claridge, D. E. (2011). Bridging the Gap Between Commissioning Measures and Large Scale Retrofits in Existing Buildings. Energy Systems Laboratory. Available electronically from