Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Optimized Strategy for Scaling Up Deep Energy Retrofits(24002)

Taitem Engineering, P.C.


Achieving the "80 by 50" goal established by NYS Executive Order 24 in 2009 will require greater cuts in residential energy use than are achieved by traditional retrofit programs. Deep energy retrofits (DERs), which involve comprehensive and dramatic improvements to the thermal performance and airtightness of existing buildings, represent one means to this goal. DER pilot projects in New York and other Northeastern states have proven the concept and addressed the many air-sealing, vapor control, and drainage issues. These projects have typically added wall insulation to the exterior of existing frame walls, since this can be done in occupied homes with no impact on interior finishes or living areas. Despite the technical success of initial DERs, costs remain prohibitive. The wall component is typically the most expensive portion of the retrofit. Efforts to bring the cost of DERs within reach must focus on walls. Simplifying and standardizing DER techniques and aligning them with those used in best-practice new construction will speed adoption of this approach.

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Project Description

Contractor and respective team will use a single 2.5-inch layer of Thermax polysisocyanurate rigid foam wall insulation for developing a cost-effective DER strategy. The team seeks to significantly reduce labor costs associated with DER by optimizing the following labor-intensive processes: window flashing and trim, tape/adhesive application, fastener spacing and fastening techniques, insulation board cutting; and measurement and stud location. The basis for the optimization will be time-and-motion studies (TMS) of each step in the process, to simplify and automate the installation process. A tiered approach to each of three demonstration sites will follow, 1st site work after in-shop TMS, 2nd demonstration site after evaluation of results from 1st site, and 3rd demonstration site will proceed according to specifications based on experience gained from 1st and 2nd sites. Resultant will be a field-test–ready strategy used for promoting widespread adoption of DER going forward.


Strategy will increase the whole wall R-value to R25, natural gas therm usage expected to be reduced by 67%, electric savings will stem from reduced furnace blower motor kWH usage and air conditioning load.

Project Results


Taitem Engineering, P.C.
110 South Albany Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

Principle Investigator

Ian Shapiro

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Demonstration

Technologies Types:

Building Systems
Building Construction Methods

NYSERDA Contact Information

Gregory Pedrick


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 2/29/2012
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: 24002

Last Updated: 12/19/2013