Case studies with a focus on electrification of large existing commercial buildings.

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Status: Current

Funding Sources: California Energy Commission CBE Industry Partners

Project Objective

The goals of this project are to: 1) develop an interactive map for tracking electrification projects throughout the world; 2) identify common attributes of retrofit and new construction projects; 3) identify best practices and the most salient challenges associated with electrification projects; and 4) facilitate industry outreach and information sharing among design and construction professionals pursuing electrification projects.

Significance to Industry

Building electrification has recently become the topic of much heated discussion among HVAC designers, building owners, and energy policymakers throughout the country as calls to address greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment have become increasingly urgent. Successful precedents for electrification projects on large commercial buildings (especially those in cold weather climates) are rare. The lack of successful examples of these types of projects poses a challenge to both new construction and existing building retrofits as there are no agreed-upon “best practices” that designers, builders, and owners can use to ensure success in the projects’ financial and energy performance. The map developed by this project will provided much-needed information sharing in the industry, serving to streamline future projects as more best practices are identified.

Research Approach

We will create a map using available mapping applications, documenting retrofit projects in large commercial buildings, allowing for filtering by categories such as building size, technologies installed, and the extent of electrification (full electric, partial electric, etc.). The data gathered on the map may allow us to conduct a pre- and post-analysis on projects for which utility data is available. We hope this analysis would include a comparison of actual carbon emissions before and after the completion of the project by combining utility level time series data (typically 15-minute for electricity) with marginal carbon emissions data from Watttime.

During 2022-23 the research team established communications with various industry representatives who have been willing to share data on electrification projects they have been involved in. Companies and organizations that have shared resources with us include Rewiring America, Taylor Engineering, AEI, the City of Palo Alto, and EHDD. We have also created a Google form to allow people to submit additional projects and grow the number of case studies in future updates to the map.

We have used the data we’ve gathered to create an interactive map on the Google “My Maps” platform. This map is functional, and publicly accessible here. We also collaborated with Cora Wyent at Rewiring America to add new case study sites and create a map in Tableau, accessible here, which has additional filtering features not available in Google maps. We will conduct ongoing outreach to identify projects to add to this resource.

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