PORTLAND, Ore. — The New Buildings Institute (NBI) has announced a new, free tool to help building owners, managers, and contractors quickly evaluate the potential energy savings associated with various building retrofits. The Retrofit Savings Estimator is a web-based analysis engine that uses basic building information to automatically perform a set of custom building energy simulations.

According to NBI, the tool is easy to use, simple to understand, and highly customizable. The focus is on existing building retrofits; a variety of building types can be examined, from offices to supermarkets to schools.

To get started, you need some basic building data, such as total building area, building type, year of construction, and what kind of heating and cooling equipment is used. This information is entered primarily through drop-down menus; you don’t need to know numerical values or equipment specs. The intent is to utilize information that’s easily available to owners and managers. If you’re missing a particular piece of data, you can fall back on a customized default assumption.

The results allow you to investigate how much energy could be saved by implementing promising energy savings measures. The tool identifies a set of the most impactful measures based on basic building characteristics and identifies potential energy savings associated with those upgrades. The tool can also predict how much energy could be saved, as a percent of current usage, by implementing a custom set of measures. You can define a subset of the recommended measures to determine the impact of those choices. For example, you can look at a package that includes HVAC and lighting upgrades, but excludes demand-controlled ventilation, windows, and heat recovery measures. You can see how much energy can be saved by implementing the selected measures.

Once you’ve examined retrofit opportunities, you can print the results and use them to compare multiple buildings in a portfolio. Comparison enables management to prioritize retrofit opportunities, define the scope of potential projects, and find out how much energy could be saved from the designated projects.

More information on the Retrofit Savings Estimator is available here.

Publication date: 7/13/2015

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