This Broadening Participation Research Initiation Grant in Engineering (BRIGE) provides funding to develop and test a simulation framework to enhance and support the decision making process for sustainable retrofit of existing buildings. This framework will be developed using agent based modeling (ABM) to integrate the building stakeholders' requirements and behaviors, the budget constraints, the required energy savings and green house gas emissions reduction benchmarks, and possible retrofit measures to simulate their complex interactions. The primary goal is to identify optimal retrofit measures that save energy use while delivering an enhanced environment for all building stakeholders. To achieve this objective, data will be collected from three case study buildings. The ABM will consist of individual agents, implemented in software as objects with states and rules of behavior. Running the model instantiates an agent population of the building stakeholders who interact with each other and their environment, and make decisions based on information they receive about the existing building condition, and the environmental/economic impacts of the feasible retrofit measures.
If successful, this research will result in several contributions to the field of decision making to sustainably retrofit existing buildings; namely (1) understanding how the requirements of the different building stakeholders affect the sustainable retrofit decision; (2) determining to what extent information about environmental impact, economic constraints, and technical feasibility influences these requirements; and (3) developing and testing an ABM simulation model of these requirements and influences. Aligning the building stakeholders' requirements for enhanced work environment, profit maximization and energy savings, while choosing sustainable retrofit measures, is key to achieve targeted reduction in green house gas emissions from the building sector. The model validation through case studies will ensure its practical value to private and public entities looking to reduce the environmental impact of their existing buildings.