- Nine occupied commercial buildings in Atlanta have the potential to save more than 31% on average by making energy efficiency improvements, according to a pilot program run by energy assessment platform Joulea.
- The buildings — which ranged from 200,000 to 750,000 square feet — could save a total of $2.2 million and 19.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year if they make upgrades including LED fixture replacements, heating and cooling adjustments and building envelope restoration, Joulea said in a press release.
- The return on investment in upgrading to an LED lighting system could range from two to five years, while envelope air leakage repairs could have an ROI of less than five years, Joulea founder Ramtin Motahar said in an interview.
Joulea aims to identify energy inefficiencies in commercial assets by analyzing building functions. The company’s pilot program included Energy Star-certified office buildings operated by owners and national asset managers across Atlanta’s metro area. The energy efficiency measures that it proposed included LED lighting upgrades, repairing the building envelope and fine-tuning heating and cooling setpoints, the release said.
Envelope leakage in particular can be difficult to detect, even though it increases energy use significantly, Motahar explained. That was the source of 17% of energy use in one building the company assessed, Motahar said. Joulea’s assessments involve simultaneously flying several autonomous drones over a large building to determine how much air is escaping from inside the building.
Savings of the magnitude the pilot project estimated can help cut emissions and increase net operating income, the release stated. Additional assessments of a building’s heat pump, roof, plug-load controls and lighting schedule “can unlock further cost and energy savings,” it said.
Joulea is also developing an air leakage visualizer system as part of a $1.5 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.