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RMI Details “Deep Retrofit” Successes

Energy Manager Today Staff

ESBOld 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.

RMI defines deep retrofits as energy efficiency retrofits that save around 50 percent of a building’s energy consumption. In a recent blogpost, the nonprofit has singled out five major refits that have been part of its Retrofit Initiative over the past half decade. While RMI’s initial engagement on such projects was funded by the projects themselves, everything that followed, including educating the buildings industry and scaling solutions, comes form donor-funded dollars

  • Empire State Building, New York City
  • City-County Building, Indianapolis
  • IMF Headquarters 1, Washington, D.C.
  • Byron Rogers Federal Building, Denver
  • The Clark Museum Williamston, Mass.

The much talked about Empire State Building retrofit is still not complete, but it is clear that the project will save far more than the 41 percent modeled, RMI says.

RMI’s subsequent work crafting a replicable methodology for deep energy retrofits, sharing lessons learned, building free tools for service providers, and meeting with government officials about the economic benefit of promoting deep energy retrofits “profoundly” moved the market, the nonprofit says. Over the past two years, Empire State Building design team members alone have begun the process of replicating their own versions of the deep retrofit model in close to 100 large buildings across the country, many in New York, RMI says.

At the City-County Building in Indianapolis design-build firm Performance Services executed the retrofit under a performance contract that guaranteed $750,000 in energy savings per year for 15 years, completing the $8 million project at no cost to taxpayers. By 2012, the City-County Building had reduced its annual energy use by 46 percent and earned prestigious Energy Star certification.

Work at Denver’s Byron Rogers Federal Building was funded partly by donors, this effort intervened with sixteen of the largest energy service companies in the US with a goal to introduce them to strategies for deep energy retrofits and to identify and overcome barriers to achieving the deepest efficiencies, RMI says.

As a result of work at the IMF building energy bills will fall by nearly half – saving between $2 million and $2.5 million per year.

At the Clark Museum RMI identified and recommended opportunities to double HVAC energy savings compared to the design team’s energy model while maintaining the strict control over the internal environment needed to protect art and artifacts.



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