Inspired by a technique out of the Netherlands called Energiesprong, a panelized retrofit uses cutting-edge imaging technology to design pre-built panels. These airtight, super-insulated panels are built off-site and attached to the outside of existing buildings. After they are installed, the building is airtight, way more comfortable and able to get all of its energy from renewables.
Working with Butterwick Projects, the builder that managed the retrofit, Logan Gilmour, a software developer from the gaming world, digitally captured the dimensions of this 1,950-square-foot 1951 home with a drone and his custom photogrammetry software.
Peter Amerongen, one of Retrofit Canada's co-founders and a partner at Butterwick Project, used Logan’s 3D models to design the pre-built panels.
To get the house ready for the panel installation crews had to:
When the panels were built and delivered, Butterwick crews worked with a spider crane operator to install them. All the panels were installed in less than a day and fit beautifully, within the design tolerances. The new windows were factory-installed to reduce disruptions for the owners.
After the panel installation, crews:
What went well?
Since the panel installation, the family has noticed the house is quieter and less drafty. More importantly, where the house was prone to upstairs overheating in the summer and was way too cold in the basement in the winter, the temperature has evened out.
"In September 2022, we had a late-summer heat wave, with temperatures over 30 degrees celsius," said Sandercock. "And this was before we had the new ventilation and cooling systems, but the upstairs was completely fine. And then in December, there was a cold snap with -30 celsius temperatures, and our heat pump managed the demand without the auxiliary heat needing to kick in."
Butterwick and Jim will be doing ongoing monitoring of the retrofit's energy performance. But Jim had already noted that when their power demands on the grid went up during that cold snap, their total utility bill was lower thanks to the savings from being disconnected from natural gas.
Amerongen said, “We were happy with how much on-site labour the pre-built panels saved and how well they fit. Using the old chimney chase and attic space to run the new HRV exhaust lines also meant there was very little inside repair work.”
He was also happy with the “nifty way” Butterwick insulated and air sealed under the back entry laparoscopically.
Sandercock and Butterwick did experience some challenges. This is unsurprising given this was the first single-family home project like this on the continent - there was always going to be a learning curve.
These are some of the challenges:
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