When you do an energy-efficiency retrofit on your building, you upgrade its energy-consuming systems. Retrofitting may involve improving or replacing lighting fixtures, ventilation systems or windows and doors, or adding insulation where it makes economic sense. It also means including energy efficiency measures in all your renovation and repair activities.
A thorough retrofit gives you a chance to audit your building’s energy performance. The retrofits you undertake can reduce your building’s operational costs – particularly if it is older – as well as help attract tenants and gain a market edge.
You can use ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to support your retrofit initiatives. Benchmarking can help you to identify opportunities and to track and monitor investments once implemented, whether for minor, major or deep retrofits.
With minor retrofits, you target "low-hanging fruit" – modifications that are low-cost, easy to implement and that offer good value for the money and effort invested.
This could include:
- Sealing with caulking or spray foam
- Adding insulation
- Upgrading lighting systems
Although they are relatively simple, these projects can make a big difference to your building’s energy consumption.
With a major retrofit, you take a more holistic approach. Your retrofit could include:
- Replacing window glazing and doors
- Updating inefficient heating and cooling systems
- Installing low-flow faucets with sensors and automatic shut-offs
- Installing sub-metering
This level of retrofit is still minimally disruptive to your building’s occupants.
With a deep retrofit, you undertake an extensive overhaul of your building’s systems that can save you up to 60 percent in your energy costs.
Deep retrofits can be disruptive to your building’s occupants, so it’s best to time them with tenant turnover or other major changes to your occupancy.
Measures may include:
- Significantly reconfiguring the interior
- Replacing the roof
- Adding or rearranging windows for increased daylight
- Replacing the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system with a renewable technology like a ground-source heat pump
Why invest in energy retrofits?
By investing in retrofits that make your building more energy efficient, you will lower your energy costs, reduce your maintenance requirements, create a more pleasant interior environment for your occupants, increase the value and productivity of your building, and reduce your environmental footprint.
Major Energy Retrofit Guidelines: help for your retrofit project
Looking for some guidance on how to carry out a major energy retrofit project at your facility? Natural Resources Canada’s Major Energy Retrofit Guidelines are designed to help you understand when, why and how to undertake major energy retrofits and are divided into individual modules to help you identify the best opportunities for your building type.
The Guidelines are currently in development, and modules will be posted here as they become available. Check back for the following modules:
- Principles for Commercial and Institutional Buildings
- Office Buildings
- K-12 Schools
- Non-Food Retail Stores
- Hotels and Motels
- Food Stores
- Retrofit Depot, Rocky Mountain Institute
- Building Technologies Office, United States Department of Energy
- Advanced Energy Retrofit Guides, United States Department of Energy
- The National Strategy for Lamps Containing Mercury, Environment and Climate Change Canada (Safely disposing of lamps containing mercury)
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