A Retrofit Tool for Improving Energy Efficiency of Commercial Buildings
Existing buildings will dominate energy use in commercial buildings in the United States for three decades or longer and even in China for the about two decades. Retrofitting these buildings to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy use is thus critical to achieving the target of reducing energy use in the buildings sector. However there are few evaluation tools that can quickly identify and evaluate energy savings and cost effectiveness of energy conservation measures (ECMs) for retrofits, especially for buildings in China. This paper discusses methods used to develop such a tool and demonstrates an application of the tool for a retrofit analysis. The tool builds on a building performance database with pre-calculated energy consumption of ECMs for selected commercial prototype buildings using the EnergyPlus program. The tool allows users to evaluate individual ECMs or a package of ECMs. It covers building envelope, lighting and daylighting, HVAC, plug loads, service hot water, and renewable energy. The prototype building can be customized to represent an actual building with some limitations. Energy consumption from utility bills can be entered into the tool to compare and calibrate the energy use of the prototype building. The tool currently can evaluate energy savings and payback of ECMs for shopping malls in China. We have used the tool to assess energy and cost savings for retrofit of the prototype shopping mall in Shanghai. Future work on the tool will simplify its use and expand it to cover other commercial building types and other countries.