Masters Thesis

Energy efficient building retrofit strategies for tropical climates: A case study of a Salvadoran University

This project presents multiple retrofit solutions to reduce energy consumption in the buildings of the Universidad Don Bosco (UDB) campus in Soyapango, El Salvador. Energy efficiency investments are a financially viable way to decrease energy use, reduce greenhouse gases, and earn positive monetary returns. This project identifies the critical energy losses in three energy intensive UDB campus buildings by means of energy audit practices and detailed analyses. Specific energy saving retrofits were developed using the building simulation software eQuest. Multiple retrofit options are presented to provide university administrators with flexibility in selecting the most appropriate solutions based on their budgetary constraints and energy efficiency goals. From nineteen UDB campus buildings, the three buildings selected for in depth study were the Mechanical Workshop, the Cisco Building, and the Studio Building (known as El Taller Mecánico, Edificio Cinco, and Edificio Dos at UDB). The majority of energy wasted in these buildings is due to four causes: (1) excessive heat gain from the corrugated metal roofs, (2) air infiltration into conditioned spaces, (3) inefficient cooling equipment, and (4) unnecessary lighting. Specifically, the three most favorable retrofits investigated were: (1) reducing infiltration rates in the Studio Building, (2) implementation of a cool roof for the Mechanical Workshop, and (3) upgrading to SEER 13 cooling equipment in the Mechanical Workshop. These retrofits are expected to save 4.0 MWh/year (1), 5.5 MWh/year (2), and 28.9 MWh/year (3) respectively and the discounted payback periods are forecasted at 7.1 years (1), 7.7 years (2), and 7.0 years (3), respectively.