Sustainable Buildings Canada calls on industry to accelerate deep retrofits

According to Sustainable Buildings Canada (SBC), building owners and operators should invest in improving their aging building infrastructure. The non-profit organization points to numerous government incentives and commitments recently outlined in the 2022 federal budget as reasons to act now.
In addition, the organization states that rising energy costs and increased climate events have made the case for investing now in our aging buildings even more urgent.

“We know that heating and cooling the more than 4 million commercial, institutional and multiresidential buildings in Canada is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mike Singleton, Executive Director of Sustainable Buildings Canada. “We also know the cost to run older buildings will rise dramatically in the coming years. We have the technology, expertise, and various levels of government support to address the issue now.”

One proven method that SBC believes will help the building industry accelerate deep retrofits is through the integrated design process. By bringing industry professionals together across multiple disciplines, building owners and operators benefit from a holistic approach to problem solving.

“A building owner may believe the quickest and cheapest path to improving energy efficiency is by installing triple-pane windows,” adds Singleton. “This might be part of the solution but through the integrated design process we often discover options that produce even more immediate and impactful energy savings such as eliminating thermal bridges and installing nonmetal window frames.”

Andrea Pietila, Energy and Sustainability Engineer at RDH Building Science Inc., says: “We start every retrofit project with a feasibility study to determine what aging equipment and materials can be replaced and upgraded. These recommendations are used to calculate the reduction in operational energy and carbon from the building upgrades. When you factor in the carbon price and more frequent extreme weather events, the anticipated cost of operating a building in 10 years will be much higher, reinforcing the need to develop a plan and invest now.”

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