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Building Retrofit Results in 70% Drop in Energy Use, 70% Increase in Staff Utilization

winchesterAfter a radical retrofit, a dilapidated 1960s-era office building in Winchester, England, boasts a 70 percent drop in energy consumption, a 70 percent increase in staff utilization and a 30 percent reduction in overall office space needed, meaning that excess office space can be leased out.

Work on the headquarters building for Hampshire County Council in Winchester took place in two phases, in 2007 and 2009. The project cost more than $65 million.

Whereas it previously housed more than 600 workers, it now is occupied by 1,100 workers after the space was reallocated more efficiently.

After the improvements, the building costs $330,000 less per year to operate.

The building is projected to produce one of the lowest levels of CO2 emissions of any similar building in the UK, according to project developers. Before the retrofit, the building emitted about 90 kilograms of CO2 emissions per square meter a year. The figure now is projected to be 39 kg a year, a 56 percent drop.

The project recently won “Sustainable Project of the Year” in the UK’s Building/UKGBC Awards 2009 and was cited in a publication by the World Green Building Council, said Elizabeth Walker of Bennetts Associates Architects, which led the project.

The building’s exterior was updated using local materials.

The building uses an open-air ventilation system that draws air from internal courtyards across floor plates and expels waste air through ducts along the street. The ventilation is driven by wind troughs (see picture) at the top of the ducts that naturally pull the air through without need for electric assistance.

The building also employs solar shading and intelligent lighting systems to further reduce energy use.

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2 thoughts on “Building Retrofit Results in 70% Drop in Energy Use, 70% Increase in Staff Utilization

  1. although the annual energy savings are impressive, at $65m for the retrofit it will take over a century to recoup the investment. Even increasing rental income as an offsetting expense, it seems difficult to justify on a cost-benefit basis. Am I missing something?

  2. There is no doubt that these energy savings created are a huge plus for this asset — when they are viewed comprehensively.If you merely divide the reported 33k drop in operating costs by 65 million in upfront costs, then it might look like bad deal. If you incorporate life cycle assessment (PV of capital + operational + maintenance + replacement + tenant and occupancy impacts + disposal/salvage @ replacement) then the productive value of this facility have been greatly increased as a result of the program. I would underscore that the benefits of increased utilization (avoided costs of adding expensive new real estate) are huge by themselves. Thoughts?

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