Jack Davis is a senior consultant with JDM Associates, a Falls Church, Virginia–based sustainability consulting firm specializing in commercial real estate. JDM is assisting the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) BetterBricks program with the forthcoming publication The Deep Retrofit Playbook: A Building Investors’ Guide to Transformative Sustainability Projects. BetterBricks, the commercial building initiative of NEEA, has as its goal the advance of ideas to accelerate energy savings in new and existing buildings.
Deep retrofits with energy savings topping 30 to 50 percent result only from energy efficiency strategies that affect multiple systems in a building. Deep retrofits are part energy efficiency project, part real estate project, and can be daunting in their cohesive nature. However, in a 2011 study the New Buildings Institute found that "in most projects, the cost of the efficiency portion was not distinguishable due to the renovation nature of the work."
Each of these projects was able to capitalize on unique financial and marketing opportunities. The integration of deep retrofits with shrewd real estate strategies created a more compelling comeback story, and one that more readily resonates with today’s tenants and investors.