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Research Report

Retrocommissioning: Program Strategies to Capture Energy Savings in Existing Buildings

June 1, 2003
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Retrocommissioning (often abbreviated as RCx) is a systematic process for optimizing building performance. Through the RCx process, improvements to building systems and operations are identified. Recent experience in the United States has demonstrated that RCx can result in significant energy savings and improved building performance, while playing an important role in reducing peak electric demand. Field results have shown that proper RCx can yield cost-effective energy savings of 5% to 20% with a typical payback of 2 years or less.

A number of energy efficiency program implementers are focusing increasing attention on existing building commissioning. This attention is driven by the large potential for cost-effective energy savings, an opportunity to provide service to an important class of large customers, and a grwoing body of program experience in this area. Efforts to promote RCx to date have included several pilot projects to demonstrate the benefits of RCx, training for RCx providers, and education to increase building owner and operator awareness of RCx. Such programs have been offered in California, Colorado, Minnesota, New York, and Texas, and throughout New England and the Pacific Northwest. A few of these efforts are broad-scale programs that have already served dozens of buildings. The other programs are pilot, demonstration or start-up efforts, although several of these are expanding in 2003. In addition, several new pilot programs are also being planned for 2003.

In this report, we provide an overview of the RCx market and a brief review of RCx programs, how they operate, their results to date, and their near-term plans. Overall trends and recommendations to help program planners and implementers improve existing programs and design new programs are provided.

Research Report

Retrocommissioning: Program Strategies to Capture Energy Savings in Existing Buildings

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