What is a panelized Deep Retrofit?

What happens when you mix expertise in green building design and construction, drones, hard work and a commitment to addressing climate change? You get the makings for a Deep Retrofit that can make an existing building airtight, way more comfortable and net-zero.

A panelized retrofit is one approach. It 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.

Retrofit Canada is starting a movement to make existing homes in Canada net-zero using Deep Retrofits. Panelized retrofits are one effective option.

How does it work?

Release the drones!

Drone used in photogrammetry for a single-family home Deep Energy Retrofit

When panels are built off-site with the windows, and sometimes the siding already installed, it is critical that they fit. Since a panelized deep retrofit involves installing pre-made exterior walls right on the outside of the existing building, you need to get accurate measurements. A manual process requires hundreds of hand recorded tape measurements and too many chances for mistakes. Photogrammetry is one of the best ways to avoid mistakes that will stop you in your tracks.

Photogrammetry involves using multiple photos to build a precise 3D digital model that can be used to design accurate prefabricated exterior wall panels.

Our partner, Butterwick Projects, used LiDAR for most of the Sundance Housing Co-op Deep Energy Retrofit, but used drones to capture imaging of three single-family home retrofits the company is doing in 2022.

Hammers out

Crews using a hydrovac (combination of high-pressure water and vacuum technology) to excavate soil around the basement level of a Sundance Housing Co-op building to get it ready for insulation.

Once the panel drawings are done, the new, airtight exterior walls can be built off-site. At the same time, the building gets prepared for the new walls.

Get a crane

When the walls are done and delivered, there will be a "fly-in" where the builder uses a crane to position the walls so crews can move them into place and install them right over the existing building. After they are in place, it's time to blow in the insulation.

Power up

Daikin cold-climate electric air source heat pumps can be powered by solar and off-site renewable energy.

Once the new exterior is in place, the building will be airtight and up to 70 or 80 per cent more efficient. A building can reach net-zero with renewable energy like solar and high-efficiency electric appliances and HVAC systems.

How can I do a panelized Deep Retrofit?

Panelized Deep Retrofits are a new approach to make older buildings net-zero.

Right now, companies like Butterwick Projects are the vanguard. There's still lots to learn and infrastructure to build before this technology and approach are available to all homeowners. Retrofit Canada is working hard to make this happen, but it will take time. Right now, we are not providing quotes but you can stay informed on our progress by signing up for updates.