Adaptation Toward A Sustainable Built Environment: A Technical Potential & Quantification of Benefit for Existing Boilding Deep Energy Retrofits in a Subtropic Climate

Alsup, Frank
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The issues surrounding energy consumption in our existing building stock is proving to be a key component in the move toward a truly sustainable built environment. Best practice energy levels today are much lower than they have been in the past meaning that the buildings we are currently occupying are using much more than they need to be. It is clear that the majority of these structures will remain in operation through 2030 and even 2050. In order to limit overall energy consumption for the foreseeable future, our societies will need to focus on existing building retrofits based on finding the minimum consumptions possible. Methods for attaining deep energy retrofits can be applied to a wide variety of climates and building typologies. Measures utilized to realize results will vary by climate, building function, building use, and other site specific variables. This project focuses on developing a methodology and set of criteria for determining approaches to deep energy retrofits for office space in the Hawaiian climate. The method generated focuses on a passive first approach in order to pursue the deepest savings - otherwise known as a technical potential energy solution. The method is then applied to a specific property in Honolulu to display its potential energy consumption and economic benefits. Best practice levels were researched and applied to the property in question. By reducing active and passive loading, the space is able to reach temperature level suitable for natural ventilation with a ceiling fan assist. Application of the strategies to this property were able to show the potential to save 83% over its existing condition and a consumption level of 7.53 kBtu/sf/yr. Future steps would need to consider a moisture mitigation strategy which are not included in this package. Benefits stemming from the design are many and are calculated to a life cycle present value to show an order of magnitude value associated with the package. Direct owner value is calculated to a present value of $47/SF and qualitative tenant benefits equate to $368/SF showing that direct owner benefit is not enough accomplish the scope proposed, but when combined with tenant benefit it becomes an option that may be viable and deserves further investigation. Benefits quantified include energy savings, indoor environmental improvements, value adding amenities, and increased square footage included in the design package.
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