Saturday, June 1, 2013

Lessons about Retrofitting from the GSA Building

The Edith Green - Wendall Wyatt Federal Building in Portland, Oregon, underoing renovation in April 2011. Image Credit: M.O. Stevens via Wikipedia.

Retrofitting can be as efficient and effective as erecting a new green building. The recent US General Service Administration’s Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building retrofitting project in Oregon proves just that. This 39-year old building has undergone an extensive retrofitting project and now currently stands as one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the US, vying for LEED Platinum certification

But what are the lessons we can learn from the GSA building, and why should you consider retrofitting for yourself? Here are three compelling reasons:

1. Retrofitting can result in as much as 55% reduction in energy savings and 60% in water usage. 

This is not an exaggeration. You have surely heard about how much savings you stand to gain by choosing green buildings, and the GSA proves just that. With the rising costs of energy, you need an energy-efficient building to get by.  

So what is the overall projected savings of the GSA? A whopping $300,000 to $400,000 in utility costs every year. The retrofitting project may have cost the $139 million, but the GSA is bound to recover this after a few years, and that is partly because of the savings in energy and water usage. You can save just as much by retrofitting. 

2. Retrofitting is good for the economy.

Throughout the project, the GSA managed to provide 760 on-sites for the last four years. But that is not all: it has also contributed more than $26 million dollars to small businesses. Retrofitting is the economy boost we need in these financially challenging times. 

3. There are several ways to retrofit a building.

You will be amazed at the range of options available for retrofitting. The GSA has had several energy conservation installments, from a 13,000 sq. ft. solar roof, to elevators that generate power when they go down, energy-efficient lighting systems, and an air ventilation system that provides 100% fresh air.

We at Norsteel will help you weigh your options and have a retrofitted building that will maximize your building’s potential.  Retrofitting options have never been this varied. And with all the options available, this is the most exciting time for you to finally try retrofitting for yourself!

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