Design of an Optimized Carbon Neutrality Software Tool for Retrofitted Commercial Buildings

Arup Team: Grace Seward, Truc Tran, Ella Prince, Olivia Brady

2020-2021: In collaboration with Arup, this student team designed and developed a software tool to assist Arup engineers in recommending building retrofits to meet zero-net-carbon (ZNC) requirements. Arup is committed to reducing carbon emissions and actively promotes sustainable building solutions to clients. The goal of this project was to develop a tool that performs building analyses and prioritizes ZNC retrofit options for commercial buildings.

The team first researched building science and retrofit options, defined the system requirements, and reviewed existing retrofit evaluation tools. The team then generated and selected a system architecture, developed the software tool incrementally in sprints, and verified its performance on two Department of Energy reference buildings. The final tool, which was built using Python and EnergyPlus, features an accessible user interface, a backend process that evaluates possible retrofit combinations by weighing energy consumption and cost, and a summary report with recommended solutions. The team delivered their functional software and a user manual to their Arup liaisons for continued development and implementation.