Posts tagged ‘retrofits’

December 13, 2016, 9:00 am

Green Retrofitting: The Future of the Past

As a society, we are increasingly demanding sustainability in all facets of life. The effect on the building industry has been staggering. Owners and managers of commercial buildings have quickly learned that going green can save on operating costs and can attract more, higher-paying tenants. As the U.S. Green Building Council recently learned, the result has been a dramatic increase in demand for green facilities.

Some of that demand is being met by new, high-performance buildings. To fully meet the mandate, however, the industry will need to take on a significant number of green commercial retrofit projects. The good news: The U.S. Energy Information Agency’s recent Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey found that about half of America’s commercial buildings were built before 1980 – creating a wealth of buildings just waiting to get the green treatment.

The scope of each commercial retrofit will include meeting tenant requirements for features like rooftop gardens, recycling and composting programs, and green transportation options. The list of mechanical systems that engineers will be asked to update isn’t unexpected. It includes:


For all of these systems, the question will be what technology or product can help a project meet its client’s needs and budget, as well as today’s building codes. A frequent answer:  super-efficient, state-of-the-art technologies – the same ones that were once considered “alternative.”

If you want to learn more about green retrofits, check out our Engineer newsletter.

Written by MitsubishiHVAC
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August 13, 2013, 3:26 pm

Net Zero Breaks New Ground with First Retrofit

Forbes, a leading business and finance news outlet, is exploring high-efficiency building. In a June 5 article, “Building The Capacity to Increase Net Zero Construction,” energy contributor Peter Kelly-Detwiler takes a deep dive into the growing phenomenon of net zero buildings.August 13_Net Zero Image 2

While the concept – buildings that produce as much or more energy than they consume – is well-known, net zero is often associated solely with new constructions. But as Kelly-Detwiler points out, “since less than one percent of the U.S. building stock gets added each year, the focus on rehabs is critical if the net zero movement is to gain any significant traction in the U.S.”

The article chronicles the development of the first retrofit to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as meeting the requirements for net zero. Not only does the Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Center, San Leandro, Calif., pave the way for other energy-efficient rehabs, it is a space designed as a “learning hub for trainees in net zero and sustainable energy programs.”

August 13_Net Zero Image 1The designers of the ZNE Center (pictured left) tackled the net zero design process with a two-pronged approach. First, they focused on consumption, addressing energy efficiency with products and practices that would reduce energy use. Second, a renewable power was added to achieve a “grid neutral,” or zero net energy status.

Effective space conditioning is a critical part of reducing energy consumption and an area that Kelly-Detwiler addresses throughout the article. The ZNE Center uses VRF zoning systems, which are “smart enough to take heat from an overheated room and move it to where it is needed.”

To learn more about the net zero design process and the integration of energy-efficient HVAC solutions, read the full Forbes article here.

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