Optimal Investment Strategy for Energy Performance Improvements in Existing Buildings

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Ramkrishnan, Karthik
Castro-Lacouture, Daniel
Augenbroe, Godfried
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Current global efforts for energy conservation and optimization are focused on improvements in energy supply and production systems, and on encouraging the adoption of energy-efficient devices and equipment. However, systematic assessments of economic and technical implications when adopting energy-efficient alternative systems in buildings have not yet been explored thoroughly. The uncertainty about the consequences of investing in alternative energy-efficient systems has led to a prolonged utilization of obsolete building systems (underperforming HVAC systems, inefficient lighting systems, badly maintained and equipment, and so forth). This has led to overall poor energy efficiency, creating considerable burden on the building operation budget. This research discusses the procedure for formulating an investment strategy to improve existing building energy performance. The approach is suitable for large building portfolios where a plethora of potential refurbishment interventions can be considered. This makes our approach especially suited for use on university campuses and most of this report will focus on that particular application utilization protocols especially for use on campuses. This investment model only looks at the energy related savings versus investments; it is well understood that the ultimate selection of the optimal set of improvement options of a portfolio will be determined by additional considerations, such as overall value, occupant satisfaction, productivity improvements, aesthetics, etc. Nevertheless, many campus managers are confronted with the question how much energy they can save with a given investment amount. This is exactly what our approach helps to answer. The investment optimization strategy is implemented in software "InvEnergy," which systematically calculates the costs and benefits of all possible building-technology pairings, taking uncertainties in the saving/investment calculations and estimates into account. This tool empowers decision makers in facility management to make complex investment decisions during continuous building commissioning.
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