Landmarks & Companies Retrofit for Greener Efficiency

A report by Pike Research, a market research firm in Colorado, predicts that the retrofit market will experience strong growth through 2013 and beyond.

With the economy putting new construction in a headlock the retrofitting market has taken off.  Building owners are not only retrofitting to update their spaces for looks they are retrofitting for sustainability and cost savings.  Though retrofitting to be sustainable is more expensive up front, owners are counting on cost savings on energy to be more than the retrofit in the long run. 

Retrofitting buildings is a monumental task with some inconvenience associated with it for customers, tenants and owners.  Here is a list of some items that are normally upgraded or replaced in a retrofit.

  • Replace single pane windows with double pane thermal break windows
  • Replace boilers with high efficient models that could include fuel cells
  • Upgrade elevators to reduce their energy footprint
  • Upgrade restrooms fixtures with condensation capture equipment
  • Install solar panels to heat water
  • Install more green space rather than concrete
  • Plant green roofs to reduce storm runoff and the urban heat island effect

The Sears Tower in Chicago, the Toronto-Dominion Center in Toronto, the Robert Redford Building in Santa Monica and the Empire State Building in New York are just four buildings currently going through sustainable retrofits, or will be in the very near future. 

In a study by Charles Lockwood and Deloitte in 2007 about sustainable retrofits, 16 organizations that underwent LEED certified building retrofits participated, the following information was published.

  • 87% reported that their workforce productivity improved
  • 100% reported that their goodwill/brand equity improved
  • 75% reported that their employee health improved
  • 81% reported improved employee retention
  • One responded reported a 17% reduction on utility costs

The report states that Adobe Systems, who retrofitted their headquarters, saved $1.2 million annually.  Their electricity usage dropped 35%, their natural gas usage by 41%, water consumption by 22% and their work force grew 35%.

By John Gough, GLOBE-Net

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