Small and Medium Building Efficiency Toolkit and Community Demonstration Program

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Small commercial buildings in the United States consume 47 percent of all primary energy consumed in the building sector. Retrofitting small and medium commercial buildings may pose a steep challenge for owners, as many lack the expertise and resources to identify and evaluate cost-effective energy retrofit strategies. To address this problem, this project developed the Commercial Building Energy Saver (CBES), an energy retrofit analysis toolkit that calculates the energy use of a building, identifies and evaluates retrofit measures based on energy savings, energy cost savings, and payback. The CBES Toolkit includes a web app for end users and the CBES Application Programming Interface for integrating CBES with other energy software tools. The toolkit provides a rich feature set, including the following:

  1. Energy Benchmarking providing an Energy Star score
  2. Load Shape Analysis to identify potential building operation improvements
  3. Preliminary Retrofit Analysis which uses a custom developed pre-simulated database
  4. Detailed Retrofit Analysis which utilizes real time EnergyPlus simulations

In a parallel effort the project team developed technologies to measure outdoor airflow rate; commercialization and use would avoid both excess energy use from over ventilation and poor indoor air quality resulting from under ventilation.

If CBES is adopted by California’s statewide small office and retail buildings, by 2030 the state can anticipate 1,587 gigawatt hours of electricity savings, 356 megawatts of non-coincident peak demand savings, 30.2 megatherms of natural gas savings, $227 million of energy-related cost savings, and reduction of emissions by 757,866 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. In addition, consultant costs will be reduced in the retrofit analysis process.

CBES contributes to the energy savings retrofit field by enabling a straightforward and uncomplicated decision-making process for small and medium business owners and leveraging different levels of assessment to match user background, preference, and data availability.

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