Defining the “Smart” Energy Retrofit

Oct 02, 2020

This research uses a case study of a prototypical higher education campus renovation project to investigate and model a “smart” energy retrofit—one that considers the carbon payback as well as the cost payback of the renovation to target strategic energy retrofit measures that provide maximum carbon reductions with minimum carbon and cost investment. The study tested an innovative process that incorporated several interrelated analytical methodologies to determine the optimal building renovation scope for maximum carbon reductions. These included thermal analysis to quantify the thermal resistance of individual components of the envelope, energy modeling to calibrate and determine whole building performance, and life cycle assessment to calculate embodied impacts. Using these tools in concert with cost estimating allowed the design team and owner to evaluate the financial and environmental return on investment of potential interventions in the existing building envelope, building systems, and primary energy sources. This case study demonstrates a replicable process to optimize both embodied and operational carbon through iterative analysis.

Keywords: Embodied Carbon, Life Cycle Assessment, Retrofit

Elaine Hoffman (Goody Clancy)
Lori Ferris (Goody Clancy)
Presented at: 
2020 AIA/ACSA Intersections Research Conference: CARBON
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)

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