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Interior Construction Renovations

Renewable Energy Options for Interior
Construction Renovations

When a renovation realigns the interior space in a Federal building, proper design of the new space can take advantage of a number of energy technologies. Primarily, the new interior construction should be developed in conjunction with daylighting design to maximize the use of natural light in the space and minimize glare or other lighting issues that affect performance. Passive solar heating, solar water heating (SWH), solar ventilation air preheating, and energy efficiency technologies can also be considered for interior construction renovations.


In addition to the use of light from existing windows, daylighting can make use of other innovative technologies. In addition to skylights, light shelves, highly reflective ducts, light tubes, and fiber optics can all be used to bring natural light deeper into a renovated space.

Under any interior renovation, energy simulation should be conducted to identify the best opportunities for lighting, heating and cooling the space.

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Passive Solar Heating

Passive solar heating design should also be considered as part of an interior renovation. In heating-load dominated climates, there may be some opportunities to alter designs to make use of existing thermal energy to heat the space. Also, the addition of thermal mass or other design elements can actually be used to relieve hot spots or overheating problems that occurred in the existing space, especially on the south facing portion of the building.

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Solar Water Heating

Interior renovations that move and construct walls also provide an opportunity to insert plumbing chaseways for future SWH systems. Even if a system isn't being added with the renovation, identifying chaseways that are straight runs between the potential system and storage tanks can save a great expense in the future.

In heating-load dominated climates, combination heating systems from solar water heating can also be considered and connected to radiant floor heating systems placed into newly designed interior space. This is only typically economic in a building with a significant heating load over the course of the year.

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Solar Ventilation Air Preheating

Interior renovation can also open up the potential for optimizing solar ventilation air preheating. The modifications to the air handling and distribution in an interior renovation can incorporate the preheated air in certain climates and conditions.

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Energy Efficiency

In addition to integrating passive and active renewable energy designs, interior construction and design should incorporate efficiency measures that not only reduce energy consumption, but increase occupant comfort, health, and safety, and workplace productivity. The Whole Building Design Guide provides an overview on interior design elements that will increase both energy efficiency and worker productivity.

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