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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Deep Energy Retrofit Guidance for the Building America Solutions Center


The U.S. DOE Building America program has established a research agenda targeting market-relevant strategies to achieve 40percent reductions in existing home energy use by 2030. Deep Energy Retrofits (DERs) are part of the strategy to meet and exceed this goal. DERs are projects that create new, valuable assets from existing residences, by bringing homes into alignment with the expectations of the 21st century. Ideally, high energy using, dated homes that are failing to provide adequate modern services to their owners and occupants (e.g., comfortable temperatures, acceptable humidity, clean, healthy), are transformed through comprehensive upgrades to the building envelope, services and miscellaneous loads into next generation high performance homes.These guidance documents provide information to aid in the broader market adoption of DERs. They are intended for inclusion in the online resource the Building America Solutions Center (BASC). This document is an assemblage of multiple entries in the BASC, each of which addresses a specific aspect of Deep Energy Retrofit best practices for projects targeting at least 50percent energy reductions. The contents are based upon a review of actual DERs in the U.S., as well as a mixture of engineering judgment, published guidance from DOE research in technologies and DERs, simulations of cost-optimal DERs, Energy Star and Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) product criteria, and energy codes.These guidance documents include specific recommendations for each Building America climate zone, as well as guidance on more general topics, including: Lessons learned on U.S. DERs Guidance for the overall DER process Controlling costs and increasing cost-effectiveness Fuel switching, adding energy uses and source energy/carbon emissions considerations Occupant behavior in planning, design and operationsOver-time or phased approaches

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