Typically, engineering and design processes have a degree of iteration involved. This is also true, to a lesser extent, for energy efficiency retrofits, as things are adjusted in the commissioning stage. However, there cannot be ongoing refinement for the big decisions. Once a new HVAC system is installed, it us there to stay, so it has to be the right one.
Much of the information, upon which decision are made regarding different products or materials, comes from the experience of previous retrofits. It would be expensive and foolish to ignore the vast amount of knowledge available, given that the U.S. spends close to $100 billion a year on energy efficiency retrofits.
- Component selection
- System design
- Reliability assessment
- Load modeling
- Structural engineering
- Architectural assessment, design, and mitigation
- Weather and meteorological data analysis
The technology available for energy efficiency retrofits has exploded in the last 10 years, which can present some difficulty in choosing the right fit for your building. It is our responsibility to assist and guide our clients in making the best decisions. Because investment decisions are made on cost vs. benefit basis, rather than a ‘what’s new and cool’ basis, preference is given to technologies that are regionally available and with which local suppliers are familiar. The risk of asking local suppliers to install equipment and materials that they are unfamiliar with often outweighs the marginal differences in product performance.
The final step is to conduct integration analysis your building’s entire energy infrastructure to ensure that all components will work seamlessly together and that they can be controlled and managed effectively.