Grouping Retrofits to Gain Efficiency

Rather than build new facilities, many companies are finding their best bet for reducing overhead is to relocate to existing buildings or simply stay where they are and focus on maintenance and retrofitting. Either option creates an opportunity to combine needed upgrades with an analysis that can optimize efficiency for your building.

Roof repairs needed?

A leaky roof can’t be ignored, but a straight replacement may leave out a big efficiency opportunity: removal of the old roof and adding rigid insulation underneath it. In addition, if you use a ‘cool roof’ combined with the added insulation, your air conditioning loads can drop 30% or more, depending on your climate.

While we’re on the roof…

Replacing or retrofitting a roof is a great time to add solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. In fact, PVs generate more electricity when mounted on a cool roof than on a dark, hot roof.  

Union St  Roof 3.jpg

Take a look at daylighting

Another upgrade that dovetails with roof work is adding skylights or suntubes. Adding daylight to interior spaces reduces the amount of electric light needed and provides better quality of light for employees, which reduces operating costs and increases productivity. By planning for PVs and suntubes at the same time, the PV panels can be spaced for maximum efficiency, ensuring they don’t shade each other or the suntubes.

Photosensors on lighting

Once the daylighting has been added, it’s important to adjust lighting controls so that the electric lights shut off automatically when there is sufficient natural light.

Electric lighting


If your electric lights are more than 10 years old, an upgrade will likely pay off. Sometimes a lamp and ballast replacement is enough; sometimes new fixtures and a new layout are needed. Combining suntubes with a lighting upgrade at the same time will simplify the layout and reduce interruptions due to the ceiling retrofit work.

Energy Audit

A whole-building energy audit will help identify other high-impact improvements that are possible for an existing building, such as mechanical equipment, insulation, windows, pumps, indoor water use, or even irrigation.

Retrofit Analysis Services

At In Balance Green Consulting, we work with engineers, suppliers, designers, and commissioning agents to develop the best balance between long-term planning and near-term implementation in grouping retrofits for commercial buildings.

·       Preliminary Energy Analysis: We use energy modeling software, such as EnergyPro, to model the energy performance of a comparable standard building (or the existing building prior to upgrades) and compare it to the proposed energy efficient building, identifying the highest-impact improvements.

·       Daylight Modeling: We use IES software to develop a daylight model, determining the size and spacing of skylights and/or suntubes to achieve the most appropriate light levels.

·       PV Solar Analysis: We provide system analysis, including sizing, expected energy savings, and a payback pro forma.

·       Follow-through: Working with the selected contractor and/or design team, we help define the total project scope and provide technical assistance and expertise throughout implementation.

Combining deferred maintenance items and energy upgrades can lead to construction cost efficiencies and increased ROI for commercial projects.  

Contact us to get the conversation started.