Supplier to Strategist

Energy Optimization Strategies – Going Beyond the LED

Supplier to Strategist: A Blog Series on Sustainability, Efficiency and Technology
3 min read

Businesses today are becoming increasingly aware of their carbon footprint and have introduced new corporate initiatives to achieve efficiency, sustainability and resiliency goals. These initiatives have spurred renewed interest and focus on behind-the-meter optimization strategies.

These onsite optimization strategies typically involve system retrofits or upgrades that aim to increase overall energy efficiency and performance through a holistic, system-based building analysis and approach. This approach allows businesses to optimize energy consumption, manage costs, while in turn embark on a path to achieve sustainability goals.

Getting Started With Deep Energy Retrofits

The benefits of deep energy retrofits

Energy optimization strategies are implemented for a variety of reasons:

  • to mitigate the underlying losses, both economic and operational, associated with equipment failure and downtime;
  • to meet companies environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives;
  • to comply with new regulations or codes; and
  • to introduce cost-saving efforts to your overall building maintenance and operations spend.

Deep energy retrofits, while requiring extensive and coordinated planning, can provide greater than 50 percent energy savings, according to a study by the Rocky Mountain Institute.1 Additionally, they can put your facility on the net-zero path.

Deep energy retrofits, while requiring extensive and coordinated planning, can provide greater than 50 percent energy savings.

Some of the upgrades that comprise a deep energy retrofit may include:

  • Installation of the right-sized high efficiency heating and cooling systems
  • Implementation of enhanced building automation systems and technologies, known as smart building technologies, as well as advanced monitoring and metering to align the overall systems with building occupancy (e.g., schedule timers, load sensing, occupancy sensors for lighting and HVAC)
  • Evolving past the traditional lighting retrofit exploring the installation of intelligent lighting systems and incorporating day-light harvesting and advanced control strategies
  • Building envelope upgrades such as roof insulation/radiant barrier/cool roof and wall insulation
The Evolution of Energy Retrofits

Where to start

Appropriate timing with other capital expenditures, system replacements, or moving to a new building or occupancy type can help offset the cost into existing expense plans. Retrofits costs can be integrated into existing energy contracts or a Master Energy Services agreement (MESA).

1. Determine if your facility should pursue deep energy retrofits

As the term retrofit denotes, Deep Energy Retrofits are focused on existing buildings.  Not all facilities are the best candidates for a deep energy retrofit.

The best fit for a deep energy retrofit includes:

  • Facilities facing escalating deferred maintenance challenges and system-related resiliency challenges that have budgeted upgrades or replacements,
  • Facilities with high Energy Use Intensity (EUI) or higher-than-average energy costs, and
  • Buildings faced with any governmental mandates are the best fit for a deep energy retrofit.

2. Identify your business’ needs and goals

If you are looking to implement a deep energy retrofit strategy for your facility, you will need to look at the entire scope of the situation. For example, deep energy retrofits should begin with the creation of a defined set of needs and goals to help you realize your intended design before researching any solutions. Additionally, understand the building as it currently exists, as well as the scope of the renovations that are critical before moving to product selection.

3. Consider the use of technologies to find areas of opportunity

Many facilities looking to implement significant “Deep Energy Retrofits” and that are committed to the holistic process should begin by first understanding their energy consumption profile and associated energy user index, as well as where and when is energy being consumed and by what end-use systems. This is where data analytics, modeling and technology meet.  This holistic analysis will lead toward researching and selecting the technology, systems and analytics that would reduce energy consumption.

Finally, a holistic upgrade requires coordinated use of multiple project funding mechanisms such as: energy saving performance contracts to ensure the execution and performance of projects, grants and stimulus funding and the procurement and retirement of renewable energy credits (RECs) to claim carbon emissions reductions. Due to the breadth and complexities, facility managers may want to look to a strategic partner like Constellation to assist in the deployment of a performance based, integrated delivery approach.

Constellation can connect you to the products, strategic relationships, and technology that can help you develop and execute your deep energy retrofit and meet your budgetary and sustainability goals. We provide the expertise and resources for a customized strategy unique to your business. Learn more by getting in touch with us by visiting our website.


*This blog post is a part of our “Supplier to Strategist: A Blog Series on Sustainability, Efficiency and Technology” where we will provide the framework for customers on how to develop and achieve their long-term sustainability strategy and goals, and understand the innovative management products and solutions that can make a direct impact on their bottom line.

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