For Envelope, Target Durability, As Well As Energy

July 30, 2011
Publication: Building Operating Management p 8
Author(s): Sean Obrien Waite, Michael B.

Abstract: Many cities and states have recognized the huge opportunity for energy savings in existing buildings, and have begun initiatives specifically targeting existing buildings. Though more slow to develop, approaches such as removing energy code exceptions for existing buildings or loopholes based on construction costs have made their way to the state level. And despite the lack of a comprehensive national energy policy, the federal government has targeted energy use in its own existing buildings. These energy efficiency efforts have tended to focus on improving the efficiency of energy-using building components, such as HVAC equipment and lighting systems, whereas the dominant factor in thermal loads for most buildings — building enclosure performance — is often neglected. Building enclosure upgrades, which often require months of planning and construction as well as a higher level of disruption to building occupants and operations, can seem expensive and daunting. Nevertheless, building enclosures should be considered as they can provide significant energy savings.