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How energy efficient can commercial and multifamily buildings become in the near future if first cost isnot considered? The report describes how building energy simulation modeling was used to try to answerthis question. The first step was to assemble a list of energy efficiency measures that can be included inthe design of commercial and multifamily residential buildings. The list needed to include bothcommonly used and cutting edge energy efficiency measures with the goal of being comprehensive, atleast for measures that can be modeled. Input was sought from many people to ensure that the list ofmeasures did not exclude any important one. From the resulting list of almost 400 measures, some wererecommended and ultimately thirty were chosen. Sixteen EnergyPlus prototype buildings that wereconsistent with ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013 across seventeen climate zones were used as baselinemodels. The thirty measures were individually modeled using an open source Python based library calledEppy, created for the study. Each of the thirty measures, often with many options, were applied to eachbuilding and climate combination. In general, the measures were applied in the following order:

  • Reduce internal loads
  • Reduce building envelope loads
  • Reduce HVAC distribution system losses
  • Decrease HVAC equipment energy consumption
  • Major HVAC reconfigurations.


  • After each measure was applied to each of the 272 building and climate combinations, if the energyconsumption was reduced it remained in the model. After all thirty measures were applied, the projectedU.S. national weighted energy consumption for new buildings was nearly cut in half compared toASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013.