Retrofitting Existing Facilities for Energy Efficiency

September 21, 2021

Rather than building or leasing a new facility, retrofitting an existing building can often be more cost-effective in terms of energy efficiency for businesses. Energy efficiency can lower business operating costs, while also improving businesses’ brand image by being more sustainable and decreasing carbon footprint. Not to mention, making old buildings more energy-efficient tends to increase their market value! 

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) recommends implementing a design strategy to retrofit an existing building to be less costly to operate, last longer, and contribute to a healthier environment for employees in which to work. Before initiating a building retrofit, businesses should first determine if the building is structurally sound and up to code, whether hazardous materials such as asbestos, PCB and/or lead paint need to be removed, and whether occupants should be temporarily relocated or the work done in phases to minimize disruption to the workplace. Businesses should also perform an energy and water system audit to determine if existing equipment needs to be replaced; review utility bills from the last two years to determine whether consumption has increased; and assess the air tightness of the building envelope by checking for leaks and moisture intrusion. 

Once building conditions are determined to suitable for retrofitting, NIBS strategies for energy-efficient upgrades include the following:

  • Develop a plan to optimize recycling and reuse of construction waste
  • Incorporate energy-efficient lighting such as switching to LED lights
  • Replace existing windows with high-performance windows appreciate for the local environment
  • Determine if a green or cool roof are cost-effective ways to reduce heat island effect and runoff
  • Employ Energy Star and/or a green building rating system for existing buildings to assess performance
  • Install smart meters to monitor real-time consumption 

For more sustainability and energy-efficiency strategies, visit the Whole Building Design Guide online. If you would like more information on how Vanguard can help your business with facility operations and maintenance, give us a call at 210-495-1950.