Predicted Versus Actual Savings for a Low-Rise Multifamily Retrofit in Boulder, Colorado

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


To determine the most cost-effective methods of improving buildings, accurate analysis and prediction of the energy use of existing buildings is essential. However, multiple studies confirm that analysis methods tend to over-predict energy use in poorly insulated, leaky homes and thus, the savings associated with improving those homes. In NREL's report titled 'Assessing and Improving the Accuracyof Energy Analysis of Residential Buildings,' researchers propose a method for improving the accuracy of residential energy analysis methods. A key step in this process involves the comparisons of predicted versus metered energy use and savings. In support of this research need, CARB evaluated the retrofit of a multifamily building in Boulder, CO. The updated property is a 37 unit, 2 storyapartment complex built in 1950, which underwent renovations in early 2009 to bring it into compliance with Boulder, CO's SmartRegs ordinance. Goals of the study were to: 1) evaluate predicted versus actual savings due to the improvements, 2) identify areas where the modeling assumptions may need to be changed, and 3) determine common changes made by renters that would negatively impact energysavings. In this study, CARB seeks to improve the accuracy of modeling software while assessing retrofit measures to specifically determine which are most effective for large multifamily complexes in the cold climate region. Other issues that were investigated include the effects of improving building efficiency on tenant comfort, the impact on tenant turnover rates, and the potential marketbarriers for this type of community scale project.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages39
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings, Norwalk, Connecticut

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5500-60433

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102013-4258


  • apartments
  • bill analysis
  • Building America
  • energy efficiency measures
  • energy modeling predictions
  • lighting, appliances, and miscellaneous electric loads
  • mels
  • multifamily
  • pre- and post-retrofit
  • predicted vs. actual
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • utility bills


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