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Interested in Leading Deep Energy Retrofits?

By Zachary Hart, Manager, State and Local Relations

Investors, building owners, and policymakers are increasingly aware of the economic and environmental benefits of making the U.S. building stock more energy efficient.  This attention has led to the development of a nascent, but fast-developing, market for energy retrofits of existing buildings, potentially representing hundreds of billions of dollars in reduced waste and potential profit. As of today, the energy retrofit market accounts for about $20 billion of economic activity per year.  The great majority of this retrofit activity occurs in public and institutional buildings, and is performed by energy services companies that specialize in equipment replacement.  This equipment-based approach generally achieves moderate energy savings. But having the unique expertise of architects can take it much further.

“Deep Energy Retrofits:  An Emerging Opportunity,” co-published by the AIA and Rocky Mountain Institute, with contributions from the GOVERNING Institute, makes the case for architect-led deep energy retrofits and introduces architects to the process skills and financial knowledge they need to access this large and untapped market.

Although the deep energy retrofit process relies on strong collaboration between the design team, contractor, and building owner, there is still a need for a team leader to ensure that the project reaches its goals.  Architects are well-suited for this role, for many reasons:

    • Architects have experience coordinating an array of professionals on complex projects.

    • Architects are well-practiced in translating the owner’s project goals into programming and design.

    • Architects are trained to think of a building as a whole system.

    • Architects have expertise in space-planning and programming, both of which can have a meaningful effect on energy consumption.

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This content is published by the AIA Government and Community Relations Department, 1735 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20006. To contact the AIA’s Government & Community Relations team, send an email to


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