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Grantee Research Project Results

Green Retrofitting Residential Buildings

EPA Grant Number: SU833558
Title: Green Retrofitting Residential Buildings
Investigators: Peters, Catherine A.
Current Investigators: Peters, Catherine A. , Anderson, Stuart , Borchard, Sam , Chua, Dora , Johns, Katrina , Liang, Yin , Oliver, Ben , Parushev, Doba , Weissinger, Emily , Yang, Regina
Institution: Princeton University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: August 30, 2007 through August 29, 2008
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2007)
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment


When compared with the rest of the world, the United States consumes a disproportionately large amount of energy and is a major source of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel combustion. As much as two thirds of U.S. electricity production is consumed by residential and commercial buildings. The emerging green-building movement has promising potential to reduce energy consumption in the U.S., but the focus on new construction and the commercial sector is too limited.


This project aims to advance green-building technologies for retrofitting residential structures, with the ultimate goal of promoting a movement in “green retrofitting”.


Specifically, we will catalog green-retrofitting technologies and develop standardized protocols for assessment and economically-feasible improvements. With our project partner, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, we will test and optimize such technologies for a residential building on their property in central NJ. To address limitations in current industry norms, we will employ an innovative approach that jointly optimizes the interrelated concerns of energy efficiency, use of renewable energy, indoor air quality, and water management. We will extend our results to examine the potential reduction in cumulative energy consumption from homes across New Jersey, and examine government incentive programs for homeowners. Finally, we will develop vehicles for public education to spur interest and ultimately drive market forces for competitive development of expensive technologies such as solar panels. Our efforts will ultimately reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels and decrease emissions of greenhouse gases, while maintaining a healthy indoor environment, responsibly using water resources, and fostering economic development of innovative green-retrofitting technologies, i.e. “people, prosperity, and planet”. The multidisciplinary team of students participating in the project will receive credit through an EPICS course, led by engineering faculty from different fields. The findings will be disseminated through a combination of public lectures, a green-retrofitting web site, museum-style educational displays, and publications.

Supplemental Keywords:

watersheds, climate change, health effects, innovative technology, Northeast, community-based,, RFA, Air, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Atmosphere

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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