Retrofits alone won’t get us to our energy efficiency goals

Governments in the USA, Canada, Australia and Europe have set aggressive energy goals to reduce consumption by 20-30 percent. Let’s do the math.

Commercial buildings energy useAccording to the US Department of Energy this is how energy consumption is split by end use in commercial buildings.

HVAC, Lighting, and Productivity, use approximately 33 percent, 25 percent and 41 percent respectively.

Within each of these categories, stakeholders can either change building technologies (retrofit), or change how people use existing technologies (behavior), in order to improve efficiency.

Following are my estimates of potential energy savings available with each approach, and each end-use. Of course each building is unique, but it is clear that to achieve an overall 20-30 percent savings, reductions must be found across the board.
Potential savings

Reclassifying these end-uses by system, it is clear that no single system can provide the significant overall savings required to meet Government these goals.

With over 60 percent of energy consumption not controlled by Building automation systems, occupant engagement is imperative.

Maximum potential