national history museum

museum design needed energy optimized





Utah National History Museum. Photo: University of Utah

award winning design but not performance

The University of Utah’s new natural history museum won many design and construction awards. However, during the first few years of operation, the building was plagued with high energy bills and poor air balance. 

annual energy savings


annual gas O&M savings


payback (months)


utility incentives


lowering utility bills and ventilation issues

The Natural History Museum looked stunning but its performance lacked. The building energy bills were high and ventilation was a problem. Several firms were brought in to solve these issues, including proposals for multi-million dollar retrofits.

public building museum energy use lower after retro-commissioning graph


 Through Rocky Mountain Power’s wattsmart Business program, kW’s Salt Lake Team looked at the building. 


We quickly identified important air balance issues that other engineers had missed, identifying a low cost solution to the persistent operational problems.


Billing data has borne out the project’s success with summer energy use declining over 25% since implementation was completed in May of 2016, with high humidity issues eliminated.


  • $41,000 annual electric savings
  • 27% annual electric reduction
  • 906,500 annual kWh
  • $100,000 annual gas O&M savings
  • $42,000 project costs
  • $18,000 utility incentives
  • 7 months simple payback with utility incentives
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