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Campus Assessment of Building Heating Energy Consumption: Informing the Climate Action Plan

[+] Author Affiliations
E. Grover-Silva, D. A. McKahn, D. Weisbord

Smith College, Northampton, MA

Paper No. IMECE2010-39156, pp. 483-491; 9 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Energy Systems Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability; NanoEngineering for Energy; Engineering to Address Climate Change, Parts A and B
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4429-8
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


We present a methodology to assess the technical feasibility of building thermal energy reduction strategies from an architecturally diverse building stock that is not metered. While carbon emissions forecasting efforts are typically the domain of planning and policy, the process detailed here can inform institutional decision-making relative to investments in renewable energy, infrastructure, and offsets to further reduce carbon footprint. As a case study, we estimated the Smith College campus building thermal energy losses, an analysis which informed our Sustainability and Climate Action Plan [1]. Due to building specific physical constraints and planned renovations, different thermal envelope improvement scenarios were then considered to estimate the heating energy reduction potential of these envelope improvements. The current total heating energy consumption from 79 of our campus buildings was found to be 57,000 MMBTU/yr. Across the three building categories with minimal existing insulation and poor sealing conditions, the nominal annual thermal energy loss per square foot ranged from 27,000–37,000 BTU/ft2 . Should envelope improvements be made targeting a 5 year simple payback, this annual thermal energy loss would be reduced by 40% to 34,000 MMBTU/yr. More extensive and less cost effective envelope improvements suggest further energy reductions approaching 30,000 MMBTU/yr (between 13,000–23,000 BTU/ft2 /yr depending upon the building type).

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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