Building energy retrofit strategies in community housing in British Columbia

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Issue Date
2023-07-17
Authors
Edalat Nia, Zahra
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Abstract
This study aims to benchmark multi-residential community housing buildings in BC to ‎determine how energy performance varies between them and what factors may affect energy ‎usage. This study also examined the costs and benefits of different retrofit scenarios. To this ‎end, I used a mixed-method approach, including desktop research, quantitative methods, and ‎sampling of twenty-three buildings managed and operated by BC Housing and CoolAid ‎Society. The study started by developing a dataset of community housing buildings using data ‎collected from housing providers. It was then followed by calculating and assessing Energy ‎Performance Indicators using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, utility bills, and building ‎characteristics data. Upon completing building benchmarking, buildings were ranked based on ‎their performance and factors affecting energy usage were analyzed using regression analysis. ‎Following this, the costs and benefits of different retrofit scenarios, including energy efficiency ‎measures and renewable energy technologies, were evaluated to find what scenario can deliver ‎the most benefits at lower costs. Results showed that the high-rise buildings in the dataset ‎performed worse than low-rise and mid-rise buildings in the dataset and also than other high-‎rise buildings in BC. The study also demonstrated that building energy performance is affected ‎by various factors, including mechanical systems (e.g., gas-fired boiler), building ‎characteristics (e.g., floor area), and the number of occupants. Lastly, the analysis revealed that ‎different retrofit scenarios differ in energy savings, greenhouse gas emission reductions, and ‎utility savings. Fuel switching in space and water heating demonstrates potential for delivering ‎significant savings in energy, greenhouse gases, and utility bills. ‎
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