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Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Cost-Effective Energy Efficiency Measures for Residential and Commercial Buildings

Cost-Effective Energy Efficiency Measures for Residential and Commercial Buildings (Dr. Chen)

This project investigates the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency measures applied to residential and commercial buildings and provides valuable insights to building owners and design professional in their decision making process.

While various energy efficiency measures are widely applied in new building development and major building renovations, there lacks a proper justification whether these measures meet our energy saving expectations and are truly cost-effective choices. 

Public housing units were assessed over the last four years after to determine the effectiveness of energy retrofits and newly developed LEED certified commercial buildings. Preliminary results indicate some applied measures are not most cost-effective and in some cases, the building’s energy performance is far below expectations. While more accurate energy and cost-benefit analysis needs to be conducted during the design phase, a measurement and verification process should be developed and adopted by building owners to assess a green building’s current performance level and facilitate the development and implementation of the correction plan.

The insights offered by this research will help public agencies (e.g., public housing authorities) make informed decisions for their green renovation projects, especially under a limited budget. Research outcomes will also increase the awareness of building owners (including the Ohio State University) that a LEED building does not guarantee energy savings. Their active involvement in the design, measurement and verification phases will not only save their money but also ensure that the building meets their energy performance requirements.