Attributes of Building Renewal

Building Renewal projects seek to create value, in part, by achieving 35 percent or more in energy savings. Why 35 percent? In most commercial office buildings, 35 percent represents an upper limit as to how much energy can be saved through standard equipment replacements and upgrades (such as lighting retrofits) and through low- and no-cost operational methods. Achieving 35 percent savings requires a more holistic approach, but can generate more market "buzz" and achieve a more compelling financial outcome.

Key Characteristics

Given that Building Renewals consist of a holistic approach, projects typically have the following characteristics: 


Building Renewals utilize an integrated set of strategies that reinforce and build upon each other. Energy loads, weather, systems, building envelope and orientation are all analyzed to understand how they interact. Design strategies are developed accordingly.


Building investments are prioritized and timed in a way to reduce loads and mitigate the scale of future investments. Capital projects, operational strategies and systems optimization efforts are all arranged on a timeline that meets market and financing needs, as well as the technical steps required to achieve the targeted energy savings. 


Whether conducted within a year or stretched out across a multi-year investment horizon, Building Renewals are mapped out and implemented in a focused way as a package. The project scope encompasses the entire building and is part of a broader real estate strategy. The effort has a defined energy target and timeline, and team members recognize that “value-engineering” decisions or downstream alterations to planned upgrades may derail the project’s success.

Rice Fergus Miller

Building Renewal Snapshot

In 2009, architecture and interior design firm, Rice Fergus Miller, purchased a 30,000 square foot former Sears Automotive Center, located in downtown Bremerton, WA. After two years and $3.15 million in construction costs, the building achieved LEED® platinum certification and became the most energy-efficient building in the Pacific Northwest. Capitalizing on the building’s location, footprint and shell, the firm was able to reuse 93 percent of the building by utilizing adaptive reuse, and generate a compelling environmental and business story.

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