Multi-Performance Retrofits to Commercial Buildings in Seismic Zones

Corey T. Griffin, Portland State University


Retrofits to existing buildings for earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters typically focus solely on improving the structural response. However, these retrofits could provide opportunities to radically reduce the energy use of existing buildings to the point of being transformed into Zero Energy Buildings (ZEBs). Adapting strategies and technology used in new ZEBs to the retrofit of existing buildings is only possible when an event, such as a structural retrofit, offers the physical and economic opportunity to completely transform how a building operates in terms of heating, cooling, and lighting – the largest sources of energy use. This paper explores the potential of combining structural and energy retrofits into a combined multi-performance retrofit. Drawing from a database of 25 commercial buildings from the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. that have undergone different types of retrofits, this paper focuses on the advantages and challenges of multi-performance retrofits for unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings in comparison to stand-alone structural or energy retrofits. Three multi-performance retrofits to URM buildings are described in detail to highlight the strategies used and benefits of this approach. Source: JOURNAL OF STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY AND MAINTENANCE, 2 (3): 133-142 2017