All Posts by Sarah Arsenault

Your Guide to an Energy Retrofit

​Your Guide to an
Energy Retrofit

What is an Energy Retrofit?

When a building goes through an energy retrofit, it is renovated or refurbished to upgrade its overall energy assets which can provide a significant impact on its energy costs and the environment throughout its ongoing life. Changes made to commercial buildings often involve improving energy efficiency and decreasing the building's overall energy demand. Retrofits are often performed to reduce the overall operational cost of the building, make them more environmentally-friendly, and improve their value on the market. 

What Kind of Changes Are Done During an Energy Retrofit?

Since the primary focus of an energy retrofit is to reduce the overall energy demand and consumption, the changes focus on improvements that are more energy efficient. The primary goals of an energy retrofit are to:

Prevent Air From Escaping

Wasted energy is a major concern in buildings, especially those that are older or have had little updating. Buildings can have numerous small cracks, leaks and openings, where heated and cooled air can escape, increasing energy use and driving up the utility bills. 

To determine locations where energy loss is occurring, an energy audit will be performed. This can include simple visual inspections, or more in-depth testing, such as blower door tests. After determining the location of leaks, the next step is to seal and properly insulate the leaks using energy efficient insulation options. Simply stopping energy from leaking out can result in significant energy savings, better humidity control, and fewer places for pests and allergens to gain entry into the building. 

Install Upgraded Appliances and Lighting

Another step in an energy retrofit is upgrading appliances to more energy efficient ones. This involves using ENERGY STAR-certified heating and cooling technologies which can save a significant amount of energy use, while still providing a comfortable environment. Depending on the temperature of the area, many buildings being retrofitted can benefit from installing heat pumps for heating and cooling, which uses only a fraction of the electricity of traditional systems. Retrofits will also have their lighting upgraded to LED bulbs which can save up to 90% of the energy use of building lights while still providing proper lighting.

Redesign With Energy Efficiency in Mind

When making a large scale investment in retrofit upgrades, it is important to redesign spaces from the mindset of energy consumption. This can mean replacing older windows, adding exterior insulation, and adding green roofs. All of these upgrades will allow for lower energy use when maintaining the temperature inside.

LEED Certification

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification is a rating system that is imposed by the U.S. Green Building Council. It verifies buildings as energy efficient and classifies each building on their level of energy efficiency with levels including certified, silver, gold, and platinum. The rating levels are given for nine different categories including:

  • Sustainable Sites
  • Water Efficiency
  • Location and Transportation
  • Integrative Process
  • Energy and Atmosphere
  • Materials and Resources
  • Innovation
  • Regional Priority
  • Indoor Environmental Quality

Energy Efficiency Retrofits in Action

An energy efficient retrofit currently underway is the retrofitting of a 65,000 square foot office building located at 82 Westmorland in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Once completed, the project will be the first of its kind in New Brunswick to achieve certification as a LEED Gold Existing Building. The project is estimated to result in cutting the energy consumption in half and reducing the carbon emissions to a level that is equivalent to removing 37 cars off of the road. 

As more and more buildings like 82 Westmorland tackle energy retrofits, the community will benefit from reduced energy costs and consumption and better outdoor air quality.


Why More Buildings Should Become Energy Efficient

​Why More Buildings Should Become More Energy Efficient

As we move towards the future, energy efficiency is a continued concern. With energy costs rising, and natural resources being depleted, building owners need to focus on technological advancements to help them design their buildings to reduce their carbon footprint. The good news is, there are many innovators focusing on a more energy-efficient future by retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient.

82 Westmorland Street

82 Westmorland is a passion project currently underway to show the benefits that retrofitting a building to make it more energy-efficient can have on the community as well as the environment. The project is expected to take six months to complete the retrofit process and expected to produce an energy savings of 2,325 GJ, which will cut the energy use of the building by half. Along with the energy savings, the retrofitting of the 65,00 square foot office space located on the corner of Westmorland and Queen Street in Fredericton, is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 175 tonnes, or the equivalent of removing at least 37 cars off of the road. 

Planned upgrades to the building will include new ventilation and cooling system, LED lighting, and upgrades to heat and hot water. After the project is completed, it will achieve certification as the first LEED Gold Existing Building: Operations & Maintenance, making it the first of its kind in the New Brunswick area. 

Why We Should Have More Buildings That Are Energy-Efficient

While the retrofit of 82 Westmorland Street may be one of the first of its kind, it will stand as a testament to why communities should invest in more energy efficient buildings. There are many problems that come with urbanization including congestion, high costs of living, and pollution that can lead to a wide range of health hazards. There has been a lot of focus on the energy-efficiency of new buildings, but little concern is giving to improving the energy efficiency of current buildings as well as iconic landmarks. So why should we have more buildings that are energy-efficient?

Building Are Long-Term Investments 

Buildings are long-term and long lasting investments. When a building is more energy-efficient, it provides for better financial and social returns in the future. On a global scale, buildings account for 60% of electricity use, 12 % of water use, 40% of waste, and 40% of material use. With each energy-efficient improvement, the community will save money and resources. With lower income residents putting a large portion of their income towards utility bills, less energy use by buildings will translate to more affordable energy prices in the community. 

Building Energy-Efficient Buildings is a More Affordable Way to Positively Affect Climate Change

As companies and the community become more environmentally conscious, reducing climate change causing emissions is a vital concern. With an energy-efficient building, you can significantly reduce carbon emissions at a marginal cost, and also enjoy a return on the initial investment in the energy cost savings that it will produce in as little as six months. 

Energy-Efficient Buildings Can Improve Community Health

More than 3 million deaths occur each year as a result of energy-related outdoor air pollution. Smog and other pollutants can destroy the quality of the outdoor air leading to health hazards for the nearby community. Having more energy-efficient buildings not only reduces deaths, but also reduces the costs of pollution-related healthcare. 

When communities and corporations invest to focus on developing more energy-efficient buildings and retrofitting current ones, everyone wins. Energy-efficient buildings provide for better health and energy costs for the whole community while having a global impact on the environment.


Eat, Sleep, Work Energy Efficient

Eat, Sleep, Work
Energy Efficient

You spend much of your day in your New Brunswick workplace, and for many people, work is their home away from home. Unfortunately, issues like poor indoor air quality and uncomfortable temperatures can make your workplace a less appealing place to spend your time.

Luckily many companies are now focusing their time, money, and energy towards the future, by retrofitting their workplaces to make them more energy-efficient. Energy-efficient buildings can make employees more comfortable and, in turn, more protective, increasing their workplace satisfaction and creating a better image for the company. Check out some of the ways an energy-efficient building can improve your work environment and help you to work more efficiently.

Improved Temperature Comfort

An energy efficient building is designed to control the flow of air, moisture, and temperature. When you use Energy Star® windows and insulation, they will work together to seal the building, keeping the warmed or conditioned air inside where it belongs. 

When environments are too cold, it can cause discomfort and a lack of mobility. When the environment is too hot, it can lead to dehydration, and cause other health concerns as well. By keeping the temperature consistent and comfortable throughout the day, you will not only be more productive but suffer fewer sick days as a result of poor temperature conditions. 

Savings on Monthly Utility Bills

When your workplace is designed to be energy-efficient, it will save the business money. Some companies may even see a savings of up to 30% off of heating and cooling bills, simply by keeping the air where it should be. With less energy escaping the building and being wasted, your business will improve its bottom line, which can keep the company healthy and moving forward, freeing up funds for more important business concerns. 

Improved Indoor Air Quality

While many people think of outdoor air as being significantly more polluted than indoor air,  they are often wrong. Indoor air pollutants such as dirt, dust, allergens, and chemicals all release into the air supply and circulate in the air you breathe, wreaking havoc on asthma and allergy symptoms, and leading to various types of respiratory illness. Much of these pollutants come in through cracks and leaks in the building and can get to dangerous levels without proper ventilation. With an energy-efficient building, the outdoor pollutants will be kept out through proper sealing, and ventilation will control the airflow to ensure that the air is being refreshed consistently and pollutants are directed towards the filter, where they will be trapped. 

Reduced Moisture

Moisture can cause all kinds of problems when it builds up in your workplace. Moisture and heat lead to high levels of humidity and increased humidity not only makes the air thick and difficult to breathe, but it also can create air quality problems. Heavy moisture buildup in your workplace can lead to increased moisture on walls, ceilings, and windows leading to staining and mold growth. As moisture approaches the 50% mark, it can be difficult to control airborne disease. Once a building has been retrofited, air leaks will be minimized, and there will be proper ventilation, preventing moisture buildup and keeping humidity levels in the workplace comfortable. 

Better Resale Value of the Building

When a building is more energy-efficient, it will cost less to operate, be easier to maintain, and have a much longer lifestyle. Comfort, improved indoor air quality, and the low cost of energy bills all make the building appealing to potential buyers, which means your company's building will become a greater asset. 

Reduced Emissions and Fossil Fuel Usage

An energy efficient retrofit can significantly lower the amount of greenhouse gasses that your building uses. This helps your company do its part to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses in the air that can have a damaging effect on climate change. The building will also consume fewer fossil fuels to heat since the energy use in the building will be significantly reduced. 

Working in an energy efficient building comes with numerous benefits from better comfort and indoor air quality, to lowering dangerous greenhouse emissions and reducing overall energy use. Help the environment and your local community by pushing for positive changes in work environments that can come from using an energy-efficient building. Find out more about retrofitting your Fredericton building by contacting Naveco Power today to discuss possible solutions.