Research Report

Moving the Needle on Comprehensive Commercial Retrofits

May 4, 2022

Comprehensive retrofits of commercial buildings can achieve up to 40% energy savings compared to single-measure improvements, while delivering many high-value benefits like reduced greenhouse gas emissions, increased comfort, and higher employee productivity. Because of their impact, comprehensive retrofits will be a key strategy in meeting near-term energy savings targets and longer-term carbon reduction goals. However, meeting these goals requires an immediate and sharp increase in the number of comprehensive retrofits completed and in the level of savings achieved per project.

This report assesses the landscape of existing programs that encourage and advance comprehensive retrofits. It identifies five categories of approaches and highlights several existing programs to show how they provide impressive whole-building energy savings and overcome ongoing barriers to comprehensive retrofits. The study finds that more utility programs have emerged in recent years, offering energy savings 2.5 to 7 times greater than typical lighting-only or single-upgrade approaches. Supportive policies, new approaches to program design and delivery, and broader customer and workforce education will be needed to scale these approaches.


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Suggested citation

Srivastava, R., and J. Mah. 2022. Moving the Needle on Comprehensive Commercial Retrofits. Washington, DC: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.


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Commercial Buildings Energy Efficiency Strategies and Upgrades
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