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Stellar energy retrofits documented in new report

August 03, 2011 |
Drew Ballensky

A recent report by Better Bricks identifies 50 building retrofits that have demonstrated or predicted performance of 30% or better than the average for comparable buildings. The report offers some insights into how these projects achieved extraordinary energy efficiency.

Projects ranged in size from 2,300-950,000 sf, and all employed efficiency measures in at least two of four categories:

  • Lighting – Incorporation oftask lighting, lighting controls, and daylighting.
  • HVAC - Replacement or alteration to mechanical equipment. Includes active and passive heating and cooling methods.
  • Controls -Includes the addition of an Energy Monitoring System (EMS), Building Automation System (BAS), Building Management System (BMS) and/or lighting/occupancy controls.
  • Envelope – Insulation upgrades; cool roofs; high-efficiency windows, including the use of tinting.

A key to maximizing efficiency in a rehab is to take a holistic approach to the project. “Buildings are systems, and integrative, whole-building strategies recognize how one kind of efficiency gain can affect other building systems and attributes,” according to the Rocky Mountain Institute ( “For example, improvements to the building envelope can reduce mechanical system loads and equipment, which in turn may increase usable floor area. Simply by recognizing how systems are interrelated, design teams can cause small improvements to cascade into substantially larger benefits.” 

Drew Ballensky

Drew Ballensky is general manager of Duro-Last Roofing, Inc.’s central U.S. facility in Iowa and company spokesman for Duro-Last’s cool roofing, sustainability and architectural education programs. He is past-president of the Chemical Fabrics and Film Association and chairman of CFFA’s Vinyl Roofing Division. Drew earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from the University of Northern Iowa and master’s degree in business administration from Florida State University.
Drew has over 29 years experience in business and industry in various engineering and managerial capacities. He has worked in the U.S. and Canadian operations for a major international manufacturer of pre-engineered steel buildings, was a financial analyst with a major athletic apparel manufacturer and was an owner of a general contracting company.

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