Deep and shallow retrofits improve building systems by reducing energy demand, which minimizes greenhouse gas emissions. Shallow retrofits rely primarily on lighting and water-heating upgrades. In contrast, deep retrofits are more intensive and can include building envelope, mechanical (HVAC) and electrical upgrades; technology enhancements; amenity upgrades and the incorporation of on-site renewable energy production.

Before engaging in any retrofit project, building owners should understand:

  • Emerging market trends and tenant and occupant demands, needs and expectations regarding their built environment.
  • Factors that drive buying or leasing decisions.
  • Regulatory requirements.
  • The potential for carbon reductions and energy savings.
  • The costs of undertaking deep carbon building retrofits.

PCL’s building revitalization experts are well versed in market trends and regulatory frameworks. They can assist building owners by:

  • Collating, analyzing and synthesizing current, reliable market data into actionable recommendations.
  • Undertaking total building and cost-benefit assessment with program design.
  • Developing budgets and supporting pro forma development across an asset portfolio.
  • Answering questions and providing expert input and support wherever needed.

The Government of Canada has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Building upgrades and retrofits are critical to decarbonizing the built environment and will be a key contributor to helping Canada achieve its 2030 and 2050 climate targets.

Our experts work collaboratively with building owners to develop cost-effective decarbonization strategies. PCL brings the most benefit when we are engaged in the preconstruction phase. Our specialized in-house building envelope, structural and mechanical experts can add immense value through design optimization and the constructability and value engineering processes.

The Ken Soble Tower Passive House Revitalization project exemplifies the benefits of engaging PCL as early as possible on a deep retrofit project. The tower is the first retrofit of its kind in North America and the largest residential retrofit in the world to achieve certification under Passive House’s internationally recognized EnerPHit program for buildings that meet ultra-low energy standards. Revitalizing the tower decreased annual heating energy demand by 91%, primary energy demand by 78%, and greenhouse gas emissions by 94% upon completion. 

Rising energy costs compounded with carbon pricing pose a significant risk to building owners and operators. For example, a building owner operating a 100,000-square-foot building will experience a 340% increase in energy costs for electricity and natural gas over the next eight years as the price of carbon increases to $170 per tonne in 2030.

To determine the most energy-demanding aspects of a building, it is critical for building owners to understand how their buildings perform. These metrics extend past simply monitoring utility bills to focusing on measurable, reliable metrics and data.  As the saying goes: if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

A building is a device and a living system. It can tell you everything you need to know about its past, present and future. Instead of evaluating the performance of individual equipment, we recommend an integrated systems-level approach with key performance indicators to evaluate a system’s overall performance. The key is defining and tracking KPIs that reveal critical building systems performance data, such as energy use, peak demand, load shape, occupant thermal comfort and visual comfort, ventilation, water use and the impact on the built environment by the system.

At PCL, we believe in the power of data. We have engaged with leading tech partners to develop a comprehensive suite of proprietary sensor technologies to synthesize building performance measurement methods. Led by our in-house building envelope, building systems and sustainability experts, these metrics provide building owners and their facilities management team with actionable data collected from real-time building systems.

Using data collected by our sensors, PCL’s building revitalization team:

  • Works with building managers to identify the most crucial data points to track with KPIs.
  • Engages IoT sensor technologies to monitor:
    • Whole building level KPIs (e.g., total energy use, life cycle building energy use, electrical load factor, etc.).
    • Systems level KPIs (e.g., lighting power density, plug-loads, HVAC operational consistency, service water heating, etc.).
    • Equipment or component level KPIs (e.g., chiller and boiler efficiency, luminous efficacy, fan energy index, etc.).
  • Assists with building data analysis to determine where the most time and money is spent to focus revitalization options and resources toward the most pressing areas of operation.

Our partnerships with key trades allow us to integrate sensor data into existing building systems to provide ongoing operational data to our clients’ operations teams. Our project execution plans also integrate procedures for post-construction building performance measurement, evaluation and feedback. We are continually enhancing our strategies.

PCL’s experts have a proven track record of construction excellence and have delivered retrofit projects at every scale, including $500,000 HVAC upgrades in operational facilities and $20 million building envelope replacements. By integrating well-developed project planning and preconstruction services, PCL is here to help building owners execute their building revitalization strategies safely, on time and on budget.