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Buildings 2015, 5(2), 323-353; doi:10.3390/buildings5020323

Optimizing Whole House Deep Energy Retrofit Packages: A Case Study of Existing Chicago-Area Homes

Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL 60616, USA
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Academic Editor: David Dernie
Received: 23 March 2015 / Revised: 21 April 2015 / Accepted: 28 April 2015 / Published: 4 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buildings, Design and Climate Change)
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Abstract

Improving the energy efficiency of the residential building stock plays a key role in mitigating global climate change. New guidelines are targeting widespread application of deep energy retrofits to existing homes that reduce their annual energy use by 50%, but questions remain as to how to identify and prioritize the most cost-effective retrofit measures. This work demonstrates the utility of whole building energy simulation and optimization software to construct a “tool-box” of prescriptive deep energy retrofits that can be applied to large portions of the existing housing stock. We consider 10 generally representative typology groups of existing single-family detached homes built prior to 1978 in the Chicago area for identifying cost-optimal deep energy retrofit packages. Simulations were conducted in BEopt and EnergyPlus operating on a cloud-computing platform to first identify cost-optimal enclosure retrofits and then identify cost-optimal upgrades to heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Results reveal that prescriptive retrofit packages achieving at least 50% site energy savings can be defined for most homes through a combination of envelope retrofits, lighting upgrades, and upgrades to existing HVAC system efficiency or conversion to mini-split heat pumps. The average upfront cost of retrofits is estimated to be ~$14,400, resulting in average annual site energy savings of ~54% and an average simple payback period of ~25 years. Widespread application of these prescriptive retrofit packages across the existing Chicago-area residential building stock is predicted to reduce annual site energy use by 3.7 × 1016 J and yield approximately $280 million USD in annual energy savings. View Full-Text
Keywords: BEopt; EnergyPlus; energy simulation; deep energy retrofit; residential BEopt; EnergyPlus; energy simulation; deep energy retrofit; residential
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Leinartas, H.A.; Stephens, B. Optimizing Whole House Deep Energy Retrofit Packages: A Case Study of Existing Chicago-Area Homes. Buildings 2015, 5, 323-353.

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