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Energy Savings At The Building's Envelope
July 30, 2009 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
When you're looking to conserve as much energy as possible, it's important not to overlook the building's envelope. Consider this experiment conducted by the engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology who did a comparison study on two adjacent offices. The office that served as the control has a one-pane glass window with no insulation between the exterior walls of the office and the interior space, and significant air leakage because of numerous gaps and voids in the exterior wall. In the modified office, the air leaks were sealed, the exterior wall insulated with 9 inches of fiber glass insulation, and a double-paned argon-filled insulated window installed. A forced air heating and cooling unit replaced the old system that required piping in the office walls. Measurements revealed a 59 percent energy savings in the modified office. Using NIST's Cost Effectiveness Tool for Capital Asset Protection figuring a 3 percent escalation rate in energy prices, over a 25 year period the improvements would generate an average savings of $1.75 for each dollar invested.