Understanding the actual energy use characteristics for most buildings requires a detailed knowledge of both the building enclosure and the mechanical systems. Most energy assessments tend to focus on potential lighting and mechanical upgrades due to a lack of understanding and information regarding building enclosure behavior. RDH focuses on the building enclosure components and works with mechanical and electrical consultants to assess the potential savings in the space-heat and conditioning loads.
An energy assessment performed by RDH typically includes the following:
- A building walkthrough and mechanical audit, often with the assistance of a mechanical engineer to document the mechanical system components, specifically related to the HVAC system.
- An analysis of the gas and electricity utility bills to determine baseline and space-heat energy consumption within the building.
- Depending on the type of building, air-leakage testing is performed to quantify enclosure air-leakage rates and locate deficiencies in the air-barrier. Several different tools are used for this work including calibrated door fans, smoke generators, and infrared thermography.
- A thermal analysis of the building enclosure using two and three-dimensional software to determine the overall and effective thermal resistance (R-values) for the existing and upgraded building enclosure components.
- Energy modeling of the building, using energy code compliant utility bill calibrated software, with a focus on the energy savings, which could potentially be made by improvements to the building enclosure.
- Estimate construction costs, perform financial analyses, and estimate energy savings payback periods.
- Preparation of a report documenting the existing energy consumption trends, and energy savings predictions as a result of various building enclosure upgrades that could be performed (i.e. new windows, improved air-tightness, and greater insulation levels).
RDH can assist you with all aspects of the energy efficiency upgrade project from the preparation of a design and specifications, tendering, field review of construction, and field testing.
Existing buildings with older single glazed windows, or low wall insulation values are ideal candidates for energy upgrades. On several of our recent restoration and energy upgrade projects, significant space-heat energy savings have been achieved.