Portfolio Energy Optimization: A Simulation-Based, Scalable Approach to Evaluating Zero Carbon Commercial Building Retrofits – IBPSA-USA Denver Chapter

Date of Recording:
Long Description

This video has been made free to view for all. Buildings emit about 14 Gt of greenhouse gases every year making them one of the largest contributors to global carbon emissions. 75% of these emissions from buildings are a result of operating them. It is also estimated that two-thirds of buildings that exist today will still be operational in 2050. Hence, retrofitting existing buildings to reduce their operational carbon emissions is one of the most effective ways to reduce global emissions and this can be rapidly scaled by applying these strategies to large scale portfolios. However, cost is still a barrier for large scale portfolio owners to undertake energy performance studies involving building-specific or measure-specific analysis.

RMI’s Portfolio Energy Optimization (PEO) initiative aims to address this issue in a disruptive and scalable way. PEO integrates deep financial and energy efficiency studies using a mass-customized approach to significantly reduce the cost for analytics. The engineering analysis is translated to the language of “investors” to enable decision making by also incorporating financial analysis and GHG emissions assessment.

The first half of this presentation will focus on the overall framework of the PEO tool. PEO tool leverages the Modelkit framework developed by Big Ladder team to automate the generation of template energy models. PEO’s workflow involves automating the most tedious parts of energy model generation such as geometry creation, thermal zoning, schedules generation, etc. using parameterized inputs. The workflow also integrates energy modeling results to first costs associated with a database of energy saving measures with a capability of automated optimization and bundling of solutions.

The second half of the presentation will go over the case study of Canada National Capital Region portfolio where 162 buildings were analyzed using PEO’s framework to outline a pathway to reduce carbon emissions by 74%.  This corresponds to 45% savings related to energy savings and 26% reduction in terms of energy cost.


Phil Keuhn, Principal, RMI

Phil leads RMI’s Portfolio Energy Optimization initiative and has worked on the initiative over the last five years and overall has two decades of industry experience. He has been an energy auditor, retro-commissioning agent, and HVAC designer, and has led multiple teams on notable projects including the national portfolio of REI stores, O’Hare International Airport, Citigroup Center and Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

Raghu Sunnam, Manager, RMI

With a background in Architectural Engineering and Construction Management, Raghu has over 8 years of experience in energy modeling, commissioning, Measurement & Verification and monitoring based commissioning. Pulling on diverse expertise in architecture, Building Information Modeling (BIM), and sustainable design, Raghu has worked with several projects achieve their sustainability goals through information modeling and data analytics.

Portfolio Energy Optimization, PEO, RMI, zero carbon, emissions, carbon emissions, commercial buildings, building retrofits