All Posts by Sarah Arsenault

Why Should We Retrofit Buildings for Energy Efficiency?

82-westmorland-final-logo-nb-fredericton

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Why Should We Retrofit Buildings for Energy Efficiency?

What is an Energy Efficiency Retrofit?

When you retrofit buildings for energy efficiency, you upgrade their overall energy assets. This can provide a big impact on energy costs and the environment throughout a building's life. Changes made to commercial buildings often involve improving energy efficiency and significantly decreasing energy demand. Performing retrofits reduces the overall operational cost of the building, making them more environmentally-friendly, and improving their value on the market. 

What Changes are Done to a Building During an Energy Effiency Retrofit?

The primary focus of an energy efficiency retrofit is to reduce the energy demand and consumption for buildings. Therefore, 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 big concern for 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. This increases energy use and drives up the utility bills. 

To determine locations where energy loss happens, an energy audit is 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. It also provides better humidity control, and fewer places for pests and allergens to enter the building. 

  • Install Upgraded Appliances and Lighting

Another step when you retrofit buildings for energy efficiency is to upgrade appliances to more energy efficient ones. This involves using ENERGY STAR-certified heating and cooling technologies. These save a significant amount of energy, while still providing a comfortable environment. Depending on the temperature of the area, many buildings being retrofitted can benefit from installing heat pumps. These are used for heating and cooling, but use 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 their level of energy efficiency, including certified, silver, gold, and platinum. These 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 cut energy consumption in half and reduce  carbon emissions to a level that is equivalent to removing 37 cars off of the road. 

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


Reference List

nature landscape with mountains Fredericton NB

Retrofitting l Natural Resources Canada

NRCAN

When you do an energy-efficiency retrofit on your building, you upgrade its energy-consuming systems. Retrofitting may involve improving or replacing lighting fixtures, ventilation systems or windows and doors, or adding insulation where it makes economic sense

Naveco logo fredericton project

Naveco: Energy Retrofits

Natalia Rodriguez

When a building goes through an energy retrofit, it is renovated or refurbished to upgrade its overall energy assets. This allows it to conserve energy, which can provide a significant impact on its energy costs and the environment throughout its ongoing life.

business table

Advanced Energy Retrofit Guide

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

A great resource for a guide on energy retrofit. Created by reliable, professional companies in renewable energy based in Canada.

dark sky building outside

Buildium: 4 ways to improve a building's energy efficiency through retrofitting

Megan Wild

When you use energy more efficiently, you reduce utility costs. If your property owners pay the energy bill, this will reduce their monthly costs substantially.

Why More Buildings Should Become Energy Efficient

82-westmorland-final-logo-nb-fredericton

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 depleting natural resources, building owners must focus on technological advancements to help them design their buildings. 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 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.

...And this is why 82 Westmorland has taken the initiative to have an energy retrofit for the benefit of the community, and the environment!


For more information on 82 Westmorland's energy efficient upgrades, click here!


References

WRI: 4 Surprising Ways Energy-Efficient Buildings Benefit Cities

Eric Mackres

Urbanization presents major challenges: congestion, sprawl, inefficiency, health hazards and high cost of living, just to name a few. But the choices we make for our cities can transform these challenges into opportunities: mobility, connectivity, economies of scale, healthier lifestyles and economic opportunity.

Naveco logo fredericton project

Naveco Power Inc: Energy Retrofits

Natalia Rodriguez

When a building goes through an energy retrofit, it is renovated or refurbished to upgrade its overall energy assets. This allows it to conserve energy, which can provide a significant impact on its energy costs and the environment throughout its ongoing life.

Eat, Sleep, Work Energy Efficient

82-westmorland-final-logo-nb-fredericton

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.

person using tablet Fredericton NB

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. 

piggy bank Fredericton NB

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. 

Interior building industry Fredericton NB

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. 

raindrops on window Fredericton NB

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. 

keys on hands Fredericton NB

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. 

buildings making smoke Fredericton NB

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.


References

City Green


City Green is an energy retrofit company that conducts a variety of retrofit projects for people's homes, and more! Check out their website below for more information

WRI: 4 Surprising Ways Energy-Efficient Buildings Benefits Cities

Eric Mackres

Urbanization presents major challenges: congestion, sprawl, inefficiency, health hazards and high cost of living, just to name a few.

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