Energy retrofits

Major retrofit guidelines principles

What is an energy retrofit?

Energy retrofits are upgrades to a building’s energy-consuming systems. They can involve measures ranging from superficial, low-cost measures/modifications to full overhauls or replacement of major systems.

There are three categories of energy retrofits:

  • Minor energy retrofits are low-cost measures that are easy and inexpensive to carry out but can make a considerable difference to your energy consumption.
    Examples: caulking windows, upgrading lighting systems, modifying operational schedules
  • Major energy retrofits are more holistic, and typically involve several energy retrofit measures across multiple building systems. These measures should typically be staged to maximize energy savings. A major energy retrofit project can lead to savings of up to 40 percent.
    Examples: replacing windows and doors, replacing heating and cooling systems with efficient, right-sized systems
  • Deep energy retrofits involve significant overhauls to major building systems. Due to their disruptive and cost-intensive nature, they are usually triggered by non-energy-related factors, such as the end of the service life of a major component of the envelope or a significant change in building occpancy. However, taking the opportunity to replace these components with energy-efficient options can lead to substantial savings that make the added cost of such options extremely cost effective within a reasonable timeframe.
    Examples: upgrading windows, adding an air barrier or insulation as part of an update of the exterior façade, installing an efficient heating/cooling system like a condensing boiler or 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.

Learn more about the advantages of energy efficiency.

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:


Learn more about energy retrofits