The energy savings potential of optimized slab-on-grade foundation insulation retrofits

Louise F. Goldberg, Garrett Mosiman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A recently developed 3-dimensional earth contact simulation program that operates as a subroutine of the EnergyPlus whole building energy simulation program was used to evaluate the energy performance and cost-effectiveness of retrofit slab-ongrade (SOG) foundation insulation. An optimized retrofit insulation design utilizing hydro-vacuum excavation was developed that generated 8.4 % larger metered (or site) energy savings at a $428 lower cost than the IECC 2012 requirement in a Minneapolis, MN climate for a 400 ft2 test building. The energy performance and cost effectiveness of single and multi-family buildings was assessed for climate Zones 4-7. With reference to the Building America B10 benchmark, the highest site energy savings of 5 % was realized for a single family home in Duluth, MN, and the lowest savings of 1.4 % for a 4-unit townhouse in Richmond, VA. SOG foundation insulation retrofit simple paybacks ranged from 18 to 47 years. Thus it is likely that larger energy savings of 10% or more with concomitantly reduced simple paybacks can only be realized in well-insulated buildings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-136
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Green Building
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Cost
  • Energy
  • Insulation
  • Slab-on-grade


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