RMI: Deep Energy Retrofits Get Less Attention Than They Deserve

by | Feb 10, 2014

RMIDeep energy retrofits provide substantially greater energy savings — often reducing a building’s energy consumption by up to 50 percent — than traditional retrofits and other building efficiency upgrades, but they still receive far less attention and capital than they deserve, according to a report by The Rocky Mountain Institute.

This lack of attention is partly due to a narrow definition of their value, typically focused on energy cost savings alone, as well as the confusion and uncertainty around how to calculate, present and justify such additional value streams as part of a retrofit capital request, according to How to Calculate and Present Deep Retrofit Value: A Guide for Owner-Occupants.

When planned and executed properly, a deep retrofit can decrease company and property operating costs, help manage enterprise risk, and enable bigger and more sustainable company revenues, all of which lead to higher property and company value, the RMI says. The guide reviews a set of value elements to illustrate how the economics of investing in building energy efficiency can dramatically improve when all value that is created is recognized. Nearly all retrofit stakeholders can tap into these value streams, including corporate real estate managers, building owners, occupants, lenders, developers, corporate sustainability offices, energy managers, government entities, and the full range of sustainability and real estate service providers.

This report provides a structured and evidence-based methodology for determining the costs and savings of many other value streams, from additional operating cost savings categories to revenue drivers like employee comfort, health and productivity, and even market and reputation risk mitigation, RMI says.

Old buildings from New York City to Denver including the Empire State Building and The Clark Museum in Williamston, Mass., have enjoyed the benefits of a Rocky Mountain Institute “deep retrofit” over the last five years, according to RMI literature released in December.

Other deep retrofits that were reviewed included those carried out at the City City-County Building, Indianapolis and the IMF Headquarters 1, Washington, D.C.

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