Moulshree Mittal

MDes

COVID-19 Presenting Win-Win Opportunity for the Triple Bottom Line: Voluntary Energy Efficient Program for Companies

Advised by Holly Samuelson

Large project types like commercial and institutional buildings have been paramount to the green building market with greater occupant density increasing the carbon budget, quicker payback periods, and greater social prominence for such projects over residential ones. However, the global COVID-19 pandemic has led to an advanced exploration of the remote world, with many employees wanting to continue with the current work-from-home scenario even when things go back to near-normal. Consequently, it becomes essential to understand the impact of energy load shifts from commercial to residential buildings and the following opportunity for the energy-efficient design community with this change in trend.

The research starts with analyzing the before and after a lockdown in terms of an employee’s WFH effect on the utility load shifts. Next, it finds the commonly adapted energy-efficient design approaches with their associated costs in a commercial building through case studies that also bought carbon offsets to reach the desired mark of net-zero. The study goes on to evaluate if a proposal for companies to incentivize their working-from-home employees to particularly invest in energy conservation and efficiency measures such as sub-metering, fuel-switching, rooftop photovoltaic panel systems, HVAC control and sensors, and distribution systems would be equitable and profitable for the organization, utility grid, workers, and planet. The project culminates in a method to check the feasibility of such a voluntary energy efficiency program for companies.

Graph showing annual kilowatt hours of electricity consumed by Gund Hall during three time periods: Average 2016-2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021. A great reduction is shown for April, May, and June for 2020 with a slight increase for August, 2020 to March, 2021. Peak near 300,000 kWh and a low of 50,000 kWh for April, 2020.