What is a Retrofit?

A retrofit is the strategic upgrade of equipment through replacement of older components with new, more efficient models. Rather than full-scale replacement, retrofits focus on updating specific parts to improve performance and reduce energy usage. The latest technologies are incorporated to maximize efficiency gains from relatively affordable upgrades. Retrofits aim to reduce energy use, costs, and environmental impact.

HVAC Retrofits

HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems are prime candidates for impactful retrofits. Older HVAC equipment uses outdated motors, fans and controls that waste substantial energy during operation. By upgrading these components to modern, high-efficiency models, major efficiency gains can be achieved saving you energy and money.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy; heating, cooling, and ventilation account for an average of 44% of the energy used on-site in commercial buildings. Retrofitting aging HVAC systems represents one of the most effective ways to reduce energy consumption.

Some of the most effective HVAC retrofits include replacing older motors with electronically commutated (EC) motors that precisely match output to demand. EC motors are digitally controlled and adjust speeds as needed rather than run at constant speed. Installing variable frequency drives and advanced controls on motors and pumps optimize operation. Here at Fridgewize we often see a 30% reduction in energy in a motor to motor comparison with an additional 15% by varying the speed of the motor with smart controls. In addition, adding ventilation air temperature sensors and CO2 monitors enable demand-controlled ventilation that adjusts outside air intake based on occupancy and temperature.

Properly executed HVAC retrofits can extend the useful life of existing infrastructure by up to a decade, while cutting energy bills. For companies looking to reduce emissions and energy expenses, HVAC upgrades are a smart investment.

Refrigeration Retrofits

Refrigeration systems are also prime candidates for retrofitting to boost efficiency. Walk-in coolers, freezers, refrigerated cases, and other refrigeration equipment can consume considerable energy in commercial facilities. Upgrading key components of refrigeration systems provide opportunities for major energy savings.

Some of the most impactful refrigeration retrofits include replacing evaporator fan motors with electronically commutated (EC) motors and advanced precision blades. EC evaporator fan motors can reduce refrigeration energy usage by 20% or more. Other beneficial upgrades are switching condenser rack motors to EC motors for demand-based airflow and installing advanced compressor controls like floating head pressure controls and condenser pressure regulators to optimize system operation. Improving door gaskets, insulation, and airflow minimizes cold air leakage and heat gain. Adding controls like occupancy sensors, door counters and timers reduce runtimes. Higher efficiency refrigerants can also be implemented.

According to the EPA, refrigeration accounts for up to 15% of commercial building energy consumption. Retrofitting aging refrigeration equipment can cut related energy usage by 20% to 40%. Here at Fridgewize we retrofit inefficient evaporator fan motors and blades with energy efficient packages that reduce energy consumption by up to 80%. Often this results in up to a 30% reduction in the overall refrigeration energy consumption. For facilities like restaurants, convenience stores, and grocery stores with substantial refrigeration loads, refrigeration retrofits should be strongly considered for their energy and cost saving potential.

Lighting Retrofits

LED lighting has become the gold standard for efficient lighting retrofits. LEDs use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. Pairing LEDs with smart lighting controls like occupancy sensors, daylight harvesting sensors, and dimmers maximizes energy savings. Finally, New edge-lit flat panel LED fixtures provide high quality, low glare illumination. LEDs are a great starting point in retrofitting systems as they are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

Building Envelope Retrofits

Building envelope retrofits are another fantastic way to reduce energy consumption. High performance triple pane windows with inert gas fills and insulated frames offer excellent insulating value. Reflective films on windows can also reduce solar heat gain. Aerogel blankets, foam, and other innovative insulation materials provide outstanding thermal performance for retrofits. High-tech air sealing techniques and materials now exist as well. Building envelope retrofits can be highly effective, especially when replacing very outdated materials.




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