Retrofits make buildings more efficient, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase the structure’s lifespan and make spaces healthier and more desirable for occupants. 

The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) recently released a technical report titled Decarbonizing Canada’s Large Buildings: A Pathway Forward. The report acknowledges that building upgrades and retrofits are critical to decarbonizing the built environment. Decarbonization focuses on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from building operations and material sourcing. The report examines realistic and specific paths to achieve decarbonization through retrofits.  

Decarbonizing Canada’s Large Buildings: A Path Forward synthesizes the carbon goals that have been established by policymakers and provides developers, designers and builders with the tools to develop meaningful, carbon-reducing, costed retrofit scopes. Dividing Canada’s building stock into categories of vintage, city, and archetype (end-use), the report provides actionable options for retrofit. These retrofits, from basic to deep will be the key contributor in helping Canada achieve its 2030 and 2050 climate targets. 

Buildings constructed in the 1970s and 1980s could significantly benefit from deep retrofits. The glazing is inefficient in these buildings, leading to significant air leakage. The mechanical systems are also due for upgrades. A deep retrofit that includes glazing replacement will improve the building’s efficiency while allowing for optimization and right-sizing of the mechanical systems. Retrofits also allow for incorporation of new building technologies that allow for more efficient energy consumption, a healthier indoor environment and greater occupant comfort.

In addition to the environmental benefits, building retrofits can result in:

  • Tenant attraction and reduced vacancy rates.
  • Increased rental income and asset value.
  • Improved class ratings for aging buildings.
  • Increased return on investment to shareholders.
  • Decreased operating costs. 

PCL is here to help building owners and asset managers upgrade their portfolios and decrease their carbon footprint. Whether it’s a prominent building in a city’s skyline or a smaller structure with heritage designation, we have the expertise to assist with revitalization needs, including:

  • Building envelope upgrades.
  • Mechanical (HVAC) upgrades.
  • Electrical upgrades.
  • Technology enhancements.
  • Amenity upgrades and adaptive reuse. 

Through strategic partnerships, our in-house experts, investments in technology and our proven experience in executing, PCL can guide owners from infrastructure assessments, through to data capture and analysis, and retrofit scale design and implementation to develop a program specific to their asset and portfolio needs.

Across Canada, we have helped our partners revitalize their assets into more sustainable, distinctive, best-in-class structures. Some of our notable projects include the exterior renovation of 609 Granville Street, a complete interior and exterior redevelopment of HSBC Place, a complex heritage rehabilitation of Centre Block, a multi-scope revitalization of the Yonge Sheppard Centre and the retrofit of 500 MacNab.   

Each building is unique and requires a right-sized revitalization solution. Our experts offer a variety of creative, quick and affordable options that align with owner and tenant values. Recognizing that building revitalizations occur in established neighborhoods, our experience allows us to seamlessly deliver cost-effective solutions and high-performance systems with minimal disruption to tenants, neighbors or operations.

As awareness of the impacts of climate change grows, we can guide our clients in finding the right balance between upfront investments and lifecycle cost savings. By working collaboratively with our clients and design teams, we can develop cost-effective solutions that meet proforma requirements and targets for operational emissions, energy consumption and embodied carbon.