Retrofit Existing Buildings

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Photo of a city skyline during the daytime.
A local law firm upgraded one floor of their offices in the Wells Fargo Center (center) in Denver as part of Commercial Building Partnerships.

Renovation, retrofit, and refurbishment of existing buildings represent an opportunity to upgrade the energy performance of commercial building assets for their ongoing life. Often retrofit involves modifications to existing commercial buildings that may improve energy efficiency or decrease energy demand. In addition, retrofits are often used as opportune time to install distributed generation to a building. Energy-efficiency retrofits can reduce the operational costs, particularly in older buildings, as well as help to attract tenants and gain a market edge.

The Building Technologies Office provides resources that allow planners, designers, and owners to focus on energy-use goals from the first planning stages through post-retrofit monitoring. The Advanced Energy Retrofit Guides outline how to conduct an energy-efficient retrofit. Energy Modeling Software helps identify the most impactful measures through simulations. And the Technology Portal can be accessed to make fact-based procurement decisions during a retrofit. Additional government resources are provided below.

Key Resources

Building Upgrade Manual
Use this strategic guide to help plan and implement cost-effective, energy-saving building upgrades.

Commercial Reference Buildings
Explore energy models that characterize 70% of the commercial buildings in the United States, and use this information as reference points for developing energy performance goals.

EnergyPlus
Use this whole-building energy simulation program to model and optimize your buildings' energy and water use.

Energy Modeling for Retrofit Projects — OpenStudio Workflow Training
Use this interactive checklist from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to create a baseline simulation, model, and run simulations for retrofit alternatives, and then compare the results with your baseline model.

For additional O&M resources, see the Commercial Buildings Resource Database.