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Retrofits ‘Could Save Commercial Buildings 25-35%’ on HVAC Costs; LEED Bank Branches Make More Money

Large commercial buildings could cut their heating and cooling costs by an average of 25 to 35 percent by adding certain retrofits to existing large HVAC systems on their rooftops, according to research by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Researchers used computer modeling to test the differences that retrofitted air-side economizers, supply fan speed controls, capacity controls and demand-controlled ventilation would make to a building’s HVAC costs, reports Northwest Public Radio.

The study tested four types of building: stand-alone retail, for which the potential retrofits made an average 43 percent reduction in energy costs, supermarkets (24 percent), strip malls (35 percent) and small office buildings (46 percent). One small office building in San Francisco, modeled in the study, showed a potential 67 percent reduction in energy costs. Buildings in milder climates saw higher cost savings, the study showed.

In other green building news, a study by the University of Notre Dame has found evidence that energy-efficient buildings can improve financial performance.

The research compares the financial performance of 93 LEED-rated bank branches with 469 non-rated branches owned and operated by PNC Financial Services Group, using consumer deposit and loan data collected between 2008-2010.

PNC’s LEED-rated facilities opened 458 more consumer deposit accounts and had over $3 million more in consumer deposit balances per facility per year over non-certified properties, according to The Relationship Between Corporate Sustainability and Firm Financial Performance.

After controlling for other variables that influence performance, such as consumer net worth, employee demographics, market demographics, branch size and age and advertising spend, the sales at LEED-certified branches increased by $461,300 per employee compared to non-certified locations, according to the study.

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