Quick solution for building energy audits offered by retrofits

April 4, 2012

A growing number of businesses are requesting that the building in which their company operates be made more energy efficient, as a move to long-term sustainability has been seen as a way to lower operating costs and increase the bottom line for an organization.

This calling for energy efficient buildings has been driven and helped by the work of the U.S. Department of Energy-designated innovation HUB, the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC).

This effort relies on the brightest minds from academia, the private sector, energy development organizations and the government to design, develop and implement energy efficient buildings and retrofit technology.

The innovation and dedication of the GPIC has led to advancements in the green building sector, and this push has been mirrored by entrepreneurs around the U.S.

Bennett Fisher, a private equity investor, has seen a rise in the number of building owners who want to make their structures more efficient to satisfy investors and tenants. He noted that these owners are often rushed in terms of assessing their properties for potential upgrades and improvements.

Fisher told GreenBiz that the energy efficiency evaluation for commercial buildings can sometimes be a drawn-out, costly process where building professionals spend long periods walking the building as they assess and research ways to save energy. Although he recognized that more than one-third of structures are eligible for effective retrofits, there may be a lack of qualified auditors and engineers to tap the full potential of the sector.

"There's a $400 billion market for retrofits and only a portion of that is looked at today," he told the news source.

Because of this availability of funding and a demand for more energy efficient buildings, Fisher developed software entitled "Retroficiency" to help builder owners assess their properties in an expedited manner, according to GreenBiz.

"Typical measures are old fashioned and manual, where they count light bulbs and generate multipage reports that no one reads. This can be costly, from $5,000 to $50,000. Our software does the same thing, but reduces cost and time. Our goal is to scale energy efficiency in commercial buildings," Fisher said.

This type of innovation could become extremely helpful for businesses and building owners, as the software can be used to continually update and retrofit structures. This could help to solve the problem posed by an article in Green Tech Media, as many retrofits see a slip in performance over time.

According to the article, people who work in buildings can sometimes impact the overall effectiveness of technology that is installed to lower energy consumption, and this necessitates an overall acceptance and education by workers who operate in these structures.