Getting the Most Out of Your Retrofits

Author/Contributor: The Recover Initiative, QUEST Canada

Alberta Context: This report is intended for the staff of small to medium-sized municipalities who are developing plans for deep energy retrofits within municipal building stock. Experts across Canada were interviewed, including our Alberta Ecotrust Director – Andrea Linsky. 

“…in many scenarios, such as projects in Alberta, the type of electrical grid may make hitting those high reduction targets in individual buildings difficult. However, experts suggest deep retrofits should examine whole building systems (including HVAC, building envelope, and lighting) and optimize for outcomes.” – p7, Getting the Most Out of Your Retrofits


The report provides a guide to assist municipal staff in initiating deep energy retrofit projects for buildings within their municipality, incorporating insights from industry experts.

An important highlight from interviews with industry experts emphasized the necessity of involving various municipal groups, including building occupants, finance teams, council members, and senior leadership, from all sectors of each municipality in the planning and execution of deep energy retrofit projects.

“Six core observations came out of this research:

  • Optimizing deep energy retrofits, maximizing energy savings, or maximizing emissions savings should be approached comprehensively.
  • Incorporating integrated processes, integrated design, or integrated project delivery into the procurement process typically offers the most effective way for municipalities to undertake deep retrofit work.
  • Broader community asset management and capital planning would benefit from including deep retrofits. This approach allows municipalities to undertake deep retrofits on a consistent, ongoing, and staged basis. It ensures that there are no missed opportunities for equipment replacement or repair. 
  • Procurement policies are not conducive to deep retrofit work that accomplishes Canada’s decarbonization targets. Municipal procurement policies currently are too restrictive to an integrated design approach. Municipalities can explore ways around traditional procurement practices that allow for an integrated design approach.
  • Various economic analysis tools exist to understand the financial impacts of deep energy retrofits. An introductory understanding should be obtained for the whole project team, and care should be taken to hire qualified professionals for the analysis. 
  • Collaboration with in-house and contracted capacity is integral to establishing goals, discovering and documenting opportunities, maturing energy and technical analysis, and leading implementation.” p. 18, Getting the Most Out of Your Retrofits

Read the full report and comprehensive guide here


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