Deep Energy Retrofits

Existing buildings represent the most significant opportunity for energy efficiency. As we upgrade our current building stock, deep energy retrofits can save energy and money.

Check out the SMARTScale implementation guide and toolkit

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Code & Policy

2015 IECC AND IEBC (Base Codes)

Codes & Policy / December 21, 2015

NBI and several other leading organizations proposed code revisions for a range of I-Codes including the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and the International Existing Building Code (IEBC). Proposals focused on the usability and effectiveness of the energy provisions in...

Tools & Guides

SMARTScale

Online Tool / February 21, 2017 / Existing Buildings

Introducing SMARTScale... In 2014, the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a grant to NBI partner Ecology Action to create and demonstrate a nationally scalable model targeted to utility and public benefits efficiency program operators for delivering deep retrofits in…

Research

A Search for Deep Energy Savings

Report / August 23, 2011

A report from NEEA's BetterBricks program and New Buildings Institute investigates* 11 energy retrofits in existing commercial buildings that, on average, resulted in energy use 50% less than the national average – many with an energy use intensity (EUI) below…

EventsView All

Introducing SmartScale: a no-cost online implementation guide & toolkit for small commercial retrofit program planners and implementers

Webinar / December 15, 2016

Ecology Action and New Buildings Institute present SmartScale, a cost effective deep retrofit program for small and medium commercial buildings designed for replication in a wide-range of markets across the country. Market-tested with one of the largest municipal electric utilities,…

NewsView All

Driving Energy Efficiency in Small- and Medium-Size Buildings

News / August 10, 2016 / Existing Buildings

Given the number of small and medium commercial buildings, there is urgency to increase energy efficiency in this sector. Luckily, advancing technology promises to help these buildings enjoy the savings that a retrofit can attain.

Blog PostsView All

Congressional Members Look at Reinventing Existing Buildings

Post / September 29, 2015

I had the honor recently of addressing members of Congress on opportunities for “reinventing” existing buildings to achieve high levels of energy efficiency and productivity. The morning briefing was hosted by the Alliance to Save Energy. Why existing buildings? (more…)...

What Commercial Real Estate Executives Think and Do About Energy Efficiency

Post / September 16, 2015

The 2014 Northwest Commercial Building Stock Assessment estimates the size of the Commercial Real Estate (CRE) market in the Northwest to be 1.6 billion square feet–a market of existing buildings that are prime candidates for energy and carbon reductions through...

Private: Retrofit Savings Estimator

Post / June 9, 2015

NBI is happy to announce a new, free tool to help building owners and others quickly evaluate the potential energy savings associated with existing retrofit strategies. The Retrofit Savings Estimator is a web-based analysis engine that uses basic building information...

Focused Strategies

There are no codes & policy for Deep Energy Retrofits. Please see our other codes & policy below.

2024 IECC Code Change Proposal Synopsis

Codes & Policy / February 14, 2022

Below you will find summaries of the draft code amendments and links to revision details that were submitted by NBI into the ICC process to advance the 2024 IECC. They are identified as Commercial or Residential and categorized by efficiency,...

Embodied Carbon

Codes & Policy / February 13, 2022

Building operations and construction-related activities are responsible for approximately 39% of humanity‘s global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. More than a fourth of those are embodied carbon emissions, those associated with the production of building materials, construction activities, operations, and end...

Building Performance Standards

Codes & Policy / January 21, 2022

Building performance standards (BPS) set targets for existing building energy performance and are one of the best tools we have for achieving deep energy savings and emissions reductions in existing buildings. They can be written to optimize the energy use...

Model and Base Energy Codes

Codes & Policy / July 16, 2021 / Energy Codes

For more than 20 years, NBI has been working with partners and within the code-making bodies to advance codes at the national, state, and local government levels. National model energy codes and standards like ASHRAE 90.1 and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) have...

Zero Cities Project

Codes & Policy / February 13, 2019 / Energy Codes

The Zero Cities Project is a three-year project supporting both cities and their most impacted communities* to co-develop and implement actionable and equitable roadmaps and policy strategies to achieve a zero-net-carbon (ZNC) building sector by 2050. Through a community collaboration...

Zero Energy/Carbon Codes

Codes & Policy / October 28, 2018 / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

Building energy codes are playing an increasing in facilitating the move to ZE buildings. As advances in construction practices and building components and systems are proven out, communities are  strengthening the building codes so that higher levels of building efficiency...

Stretch Codes (Advanced Codes)

Codes & Policy / October 15, 2018 / Energy Codes

New design and process strategies can be demonstrated through a variety of advanced code strategies.  NBI builds market capacity for higher efficiency energy codes by encouraging the use of stretch codes (also referred to as reach codes). To support the...

Washington State Energy Code Roadmap to 2031

Codes & Policy / October 15, 2018 / Energy Codes

Many organizations and jurisdictions have adopted a range of building performance goals over the past decade that have significantly changed the conversation about energy codes and building energy performance.  The primary policy driver for the Washington State Energy Code increases in...

Steps to Achieving Outcome-Based Energy Codes

Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

Outcome-based energy codes, codes  require that a number of policy, data and administration pieces be put in place.  

Costs of Advanced Efficiency Measures in Commercial Buildings

Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

NBI has identified the following four studies as a general survey of the cost impact of increasing the level of energy efficiency in commercial new construction and major retrofits. This is not an exhaustive survey of cost material available, but...

zEPI

Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

The 2015 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) includes many progressive measures that will improve the energy performance of buildings. One important provision describes the Zero Energy Performance Index (zEPI), which provides a scale for measuring commercial building energy performance. zEPI...

Zero Net Energy Policies

Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

Policies and programs can dramatically change the landscape for Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings. There is burgeoning market interest in ZNE, and policies and programs can foster and grow that interest through leadership, direct support, and the reduction of risks and...

Aligning Utility Programs with Local Codes (Policy)

Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

Bringing energy codes to market often involves a comprehensive approach that starts years before a code is adopted by a local jurisdiction. NBI provides technical assistance through each stage of code development. NBI aggregates technical information from existing high performance buildings. Observed trends...

Outcome-Based Energy Codes (Advanced Codes)

Codes & Policy / December 21, 2015

Our nation’s current energy codes include structural and enforcement characteristics that limit the ability to achieve significantly more energy savings without major changes. Current energy code strategies consider only a limited number of the factors that impact building energy performance. ...

Model Energy & Green Codes

Codes & Policy / December 19, 2015

NBI works collaboratively with a wide range of industry partners to bring model energy codes up to current market capabilities. Measures promoted by NBI include higher efficiency standards for equipment and advanced design strategies such as daylighting. Once adopted by states...

COMNET (Polcy)

Codes & Policy / December 19, 2015 / Policy

NBI manages the development of COMNET, a quality assurance initiative to standardize building energy modeling, by creating consistent baselines relative to various energy codes and standards. COMNET extends and supports existing systems for assessing and rating the energy efficiency of...

ResearchView All

Outcome-Based Energy Codes for Existing Buildings, Seattle Model Energy Code Project

Report / May 16, 2011

The Preservation Green Lab (PGL), the City of Seattle, and the New Buildings Institute (NBI) are collaborating on a new energy code framework for existing and historic buildings that will pair accountability for actual performance outcomes with flexibility in how…

Assessment of Market-Ready Evaporative Technologies for HVAC Applications

Report / January 28, 2010

NBI completed a report on the range of evaporative, evaporative hybrid and evaporative condensing technologies for HVAC applications on behalf of Southern California Edison including: technologies, manufacturers, market applications and adoption factors surrounding evaporative approaches to cooling.

Events

There are no events for Deep Energy Retrofits. Please see our other events below.

Heat Pump Water Heaters in the All Electric Home – Builders share their experience

Webinar / July 12, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm PDT

Installing Heat Pump Water Heaters (HPWH) in new homes is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to incorporate high efficiency water heating into buildings. Yet, the vast majority of builders are not familiar with and not using advanced…

Energy Efficiency Day 2022

Event / October 5, 2022

Energy Efficiency Day (the first Wednesday in October – Oct. 5, 2022)  is a collaborative effort of dozens of energy efficiency advocacy groups around the United States. The Energy Efficiency Day message is simple: “Save Money. Cut Pollution. Create Jobs.”…

2023 Getting to Zero Forum

Event / May 10, 2023 - May 12, 2023

The Getting to Zero Forum is the premier event dedicated to zero energy and zero carbon buildings. With a growing number of climate emergencies across the United States and around the world, there is no more important time than now…

NewsView All

Driving Energy Efficiency in Small- and Medium-Size Buildings

News / August 10, 2016 / Existing Buildings

Given the number of small and medium commercial buildings, there is urgency to increase energy efficiency in this sector. Luckily, advancing technology promises to help these buildings enjoy the savings that a retrofit can attain.

The Retrofit Savings Estimator

News / October 6, 2015

Building owners considering an energy-efficiency upgrade now have a new tool to help them weigh their options and choose strategies that will optimize energy savings or target the biggest opportunities among a portfolio of buildings. NBI has released a beta...

These Small Business Segments Make Super Customers

News / July 17, 2015

In 2013, Preservation Green Lab (PGL) and the New Buildings Institute (NBI) reported on seven small building segments with high energy savings potential: food service, main street buildings, freestanding offices, strip malls, schools, freestanding retail and lodging. This inspired Diana...

System Control Offers Increased HVAC Efficiency For Smaller Buildings

News / September 23, 2014

Environmental Leader reported on new technology in heating, venting and air conditioning building automation systems for small- and mid-sized buildings. The article references a 2004 New Buildings Institute study, which found that 91 percent of the packaged rooftop units tested...

New guide outlines best practices for cutting energy used by plug-in devices

News / July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012–The number of things office workers plug into the socket is growing rapidly. To help commercial building owners and occupants get control of the energy used by office equipment and other electronic devices, New Buildings Institute (NBI) today...

Blog

New York Invests in Energy-Saving Strategies to Meet Climate Action Goals

Post / January 4, 2019

New York has emerged as a shining star in local energy policy with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement early last year of an ambitious energy efficiency target to reduce energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs (British thermal units) by...

Cities Get Help to Prioritize Energy Upgrades, Improve Codes and Policies that Drive Better Building Performance

Post / April 21, 2017 / Benchmarking & Feedback, Existing Buildings

Buildings are responsible for almost half of all U.S. energy consumption (46%), and poor-performing buildings have an outsized impact on energy use. But without a systematic approach to track building performance, it’s often difficult to know where to start. By setting...

Congressional Members Look at Reinventing Existing Buildings

Post / September 29, 2015

I had the honor recently of addressing members of Congress on opportunities for “reinventing” existing buildings to achieve high levels of energy efficiency and productivity. The morning briefing was hosted by the Alliance to Save Energy. Why existing buildings? (more…)...

What Commercial Real Estate Executives Think and Do About Energy Efficiency

Post / September 16, 2015

The 2014 Northwest Commercial Building Stock Assessment estimates the size of the Commercial Real Estate (CRE) market in the Northwest to be 1.6 billion square feet–a market of existing buildings that are prime candidates for energy and carbon reductions through...

New buildings database offers important lessons on achieving low-energy buildings

Post / December 9, 2014

There is no better teacher than experience and now NBI has over 280 experiences to share through its new Getting to Zero Buildings Database. The database officially released today offers a dynamic way to find in-depth case studies about high...

Northwest cities get help from NEEA to address worst performing buildings

Post / November 20, 2014

Existing buildings with aging equipment and infrastructure represent a tremendous opportunity for energy savings. But, without a mechanism to identify inefficient buildings and prioritize budgets for upgrades, it’s difficult to know where to start. Under a pilot program, funded by...

Government Leadership Creates Powerful Action on Deep Energy Efficiency and Climate Change

Post / April 9, 2014

Vermont, California, Kentucky, Pima County, Salt Lake City, Fort Collins, Washington DC. These communities are among those leading by example in setting zero net energy (ZNE) goals for both local policies and their own government buildings. Policymakers in these jurisdictions...

Case StudiesView All

Lovejoy Building Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

In Portland, OR a retrofit of the existing load-bearing brick structure required a major seismic upgrade in this building. The architects used this as an opportunity for an integrated response to advanced structural upgrades, enhanced user thermal comfort and improved…

Johnson Braund Design Group Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

Johnson Braund Design Group (JBDG) in Seattle was able to dramatically improve their building’s energy performance, reduce operating costs and provide a test ground for energy-efficient design strategies to influence its clients. The JBDG Building now uses 69% less energy…

Christman Building Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

The Christman in Lansing, MI is one of the few Triple LEED Platinum buildings designated by the USGBC LEED Program. The building is located in a climate zone comparable to Montana, northeast Washington and eastern Idaho, and its age and…

Aventine Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

The Aventine in LaJolla, CA is a certified LEED Existing Building Platinum and has an Energy Star rating of 100, the highest possible, and uses just 23 kBtus/sf, 75% less than the national average for offices. Retrofits addressed high-energy loads…

1525 Wilson Boulevard

Case Study / April 27, 2012

This all-electric building in Rossyln, VA used a combination of energy efficiency strategies, including replacing HVAC and lighting systems and providing tenant education. Energy use was reduced by 35% in just one year, resulting in savings over $250,000 on energy…

Mercy Corps Headquarters

Case Study / April 27, 2012

This building in Portland, OR is 50% historic renovation and 50% new construction. The information in this profile addresses both the renovated and the new parts of the building. Pursuing energy efficiency supports their mission of sustainability, and lower operating…

Home On The Range

Case Study / April 27, 2012

This Project Profile builds on a case study prepared by USGBC, including data on energy performance for one year, and provides updated owner feedback and energy use data. The actual energy use of the building in Billings, MT, is 46…

Beardmore Building

Case Study / April 27, 2012

The Beardmore in Priest River, Idaho has the distinction of being one of the few buildings in the country that is both LEED Gold certified and on the National Register of Historic Places. The project demonstrates a very successful renovation…

200 Market Building

Case Study / April 27, 2012

The 200 Market building in Portland, OR, has made continuous energy retrofits and system improvements. These efforts have moved the building from an ENERGY STAR score of 79 in 2006 to a score of 98 (out of 100) in 2010,…

Joseph Vance Building

Case Study / April 27, 2012

Since its acquisition, significant investments have been made to renovate this building in Seattle to improve energy efficiency and environmental performance, as well as tenant experience. Occupancy increased from 68% to 96% and has seen increased rents, tenant retention and…

Alliance Center

Case Study / April 27, 2012

The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado launched a project titled “Modeling a Net Zero Future: Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings” to explore options that will enable it to approach a zero-net energy goal. Several documents developed for the project are referenced…

A Case For Deep Savings: 11 Case studies of Deep Energy Retrofits

Case Study / August 23, 2011

For NEEA’s BetterBricks program, New Buildings Institute investigated* 11 examples of energy retrofits in existing commercial buildings that, on average, use 50% less energy than the national average – most with an energy use intensity (EUI) of less than 40…

Tools & Guides

SMARTScale

Online Tool / February 21, 2017 / Existing Buildings

Introducing SMARTScale... In 2014, the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a grant to NBI partner Ecology Action to create and demonstrate a nationally scalable model targeted to utility and public benefits efficiency program operators for delivering deep retrofits in…

Buildings have the potential to substantially improve energy performance

View case studies on deep energy retrofits with 50% savings.

View Case Studies