Window/Insulation Retrofitting in UMass Dormitories
Simulating Window/Insulation Retrofitting in UMass Residential Dorms for Increased Energy Efficiency
In April 2019, Chancellor Subbaswamy formed the UMass Carbon Mitigation Task Force and challenged them to meet a goal for the university’s carbon emissions; net zero carbon by 2030. Throughout the years, the iCons Renewable Energy program students and faculty have responded with many research projects to explore new opportunities for minimizing carbon emissions at UMass. These projects have varied widely, but have all started by identifying an area in which we could be doing better. For our group, this area was thermal efficiency of dorms on our campus. While our residential halls are loved by our community, they are not up to sustainability standards today. Many of our older buildings have minimal insulation and do not contain high performance windows. This causes relentless heat loss and is the reason that retrofits are so necessary for these buildings. Retrofitting windows has offered up to 30% in energy savings to retrofitted buildings based on our research and therefore, with the addition of minimal insulation, it is expected to see at least 20% in energy usage savings with a significant reduction in heating costs in these historic buildings.We picked three buildings in different residential areas on campus: Kennedy in the Southwest Residential Area, Dickinson in the Orchard Hill Residential Area, and Dwight in the Northeast Residential Area. While Dickinson has already been partially retrofitted with some insulative wall materials, Dwight and Kennedy have not been at all. COMFEN was used to model retrofits in all three buildings to cut down on heating, save money, and save energy.