Unlocking Ultra-Low Energy Performance in Existing Buildings


ACEEE finds that although the intensity and the cost of retrofits can vary significantly the technology exists to bring ultra-low energy (ULE) performance to existing buildings. ULE designs for existing buildings may need to rely more heavily on the installation of super-efficient equipment and the use of sophisticated energy management and controls. Additionally, greater emphasis will need to placed on reducing plug loads. Below are some strategies identified in the report. Click here to read the full report from ACEEE.

Design Step
Sample Technology Options

1. Reduce building energy loads with improved envelopes and the use of passive systems.
2. Install high-efficiency systems to address primary building energy loads.
3. Install systems to manage building energy loads with effective control strategies and other mechanisms.
4. Incorporate energy recovery mechanisms to minimize energy losses.
5. Use renewables to meet remaining building loads.
6. Monitor and manage post-occupancy building energy use.

Superinsulation, daylighting, exterior shading, natural ventilation
Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems (including distribution), water heating, appliances/equipment
Energy management systems, plug-load control strategies, feedback to users and occupants
Energy recovery ventilation, heat-pump water heaters

Rooftop and other photovoltaic systems
Monitoring-based commissioning, occupant engagement



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