Blind to Blinds: Opening Our Eyes to Savings from New Automated Shading Systems
Existing buildings pose a massive challenge to achieving large-scale emissions reductions in the building sector. Effective programs to drive down energy use in the older built environment are lacking, highlighted by the finding that 60% of buildings built prior to 2008 have never been retrofit (EIA 2012). This largely untapped market presents a tremendous opportunity to save energy and carbon emissions to meet our climate goals. The "Leading in Los Angeles" project set out to develop a scalable retrofit solution to achieve 20+% whole-building energy savings. The package includes LED lighting with advanced controls, automated interior shading with a daylight redirecting upper portion, and basic HVAC controls commissioning. The lighting and shading systems work together to avoid glare, maximize daylighting, and minimize lighting energy use with dim-to-off automated controls. This paper presents lab results on the retrofit package and initial metered savings from one office and one higher education demonstration site. At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's (LBNL) FLEXLAB, we measured significant energy savings attributed to the shades and lighting upgrades. We measured savings in three seasons (summer, fall, winter) against two baselines: 1) typical existing building and 2) Title 24 code compliant building. Lighting savings were significant (49%-76%), and summer cooling load savings was also impressive (19%-38%). Initial field metered results from the demonstration sites are also included in the paper. Most critically, the paper introduces the unique characteristics of the automated shading technology that can serve as a gateway to capture savings in existing buildings.