Residential Retrofits and Whole House Energy Solutions

Our goal is not energy efficient homes — but low energy homes. But low energy cannot be at the expense of the services a home provides: safety, shelter and security.

Our retrofit efforts combine measurements of case studies with broader analyses to guide policy and industry. Our field studies combine short-term diagnostics that characterize homes and identify key performance attributes, with continuous monitoring or energy end-uses. We develop measurement techniques and methodologies as well as data analysis and building models to not only show the how energy can be saved but also create new test methods and procedures that are developed into standard for the industry to use.

As with the medical profession, our first duty is to do no harm and ensure that low energy homes are comfortable, durable and safe. Therefore, we consider indoor air quality, health and moisture as primary requirements for retrofits including envelope designs that robustly deal with water from both inside and outside, provide mechanical and passive systems to deliver adequate ventilation to minimize the effects of pollutants and the impacts of combustion appliances.

Generally our ethos is to identify and pursue the simplest possible solutions that require the least change for the industry. This means that we focus on retrofits that use current, off the shelf technologies and construction techniques that are low-risk and are familiar to the industry and only developing new technologies where they are needed.

Our Residential Retrofit and Whole House Energy Solutions Research has five topic areas:

  1. Deep Retrofits: how to save 75% or more
  2. Changing industry practice: through standards and training such as RESNET, BPI, ASTM, ASHRAE
  3. Ventilation, moisture and IAQ for energy efficient homes
  4. Technology development: currently focused on ventilation controls and dehumidifiers
  5. Residential Integration: bridging the gaps between all aspects of residential research