Master Class Series Renovation Wave

Categorized as News from NA

Our webinar series, Renovation Wave, brings together a cohort of IURC cities and metropolitan areas in a peer-to-peer learning environment to discuss and share challenges and best practices related to the main topic as they build long-term learning, networking, and working relationship amongst the participants. These webinars build upon topics of interest emerging from the cooperation among cities and questions that arose during study visits in 2023. The lessons from these webinars will be further explored during our IURC NA Thematic Networking Event on Renovation Wave and Nature-Based Solutions that will take place in Mannheim, Germany, on September 18-20th, 2023. The series started in March 2023 and will end in 2023. You may find below the information regarding past sessions and register for the upcoming ones:

8th of March, 2023

Retrofitting Social Houses and Buildings


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube’s privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

This first online session of our Renovation Wave series featured Dan Dicaire, Manager of Energy and Sustainability, and Melissa Jort-Conway, Planner II in Climate Change and Resiliency, both from the City of Ottawa. They shared their role in the Race to Zero to eliminate Ottawa’s GHG emissions by 2040, including the retrofit strategy for OCH’s 15,000 units and several projects which hold the blueprints to eliminating GHG emissions from their entire portfolio. They talked about financing, long-term planning, and community partnerships, which are crucial for deploying and implementing these concepts.

We also heard from Paloma Bozman, Director of the Zaragoza (Spain) social housing department, who will add a European perspective to this kind of policies by sharing their experience promoting retrofit projects – both in the private and public sectors – as part of their local strategy towards Zero Emissions in 2030.

  1. Ottawa’s Building Energy Targets:
    • Ottawa City Council, since 2019, actively approves plans and policies supporting the transition from fossil fuels to low-carbon and renewable options, resulting in a significant reduction in emissions.
    • The city aims for a 100% reduction in community emissions by 2050 and corporate reduction by 2040, with 30% of the reduction targeted in buildings.
    • Ottawa employs municipal support programs, including low-interest loans, strategies for new commercial builds, and zero-emission plans, to facilitate the necessary changes.
  2. Deep Energy Retrofits by Ottawa Community Housing (OCH):
    • Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) addresses a housing crisis and the need for energy efficiency by implementing Deep Energy Retrofits.
    • With 15,000 units, two-thirds over 60 years old, OCH introduces retrofits that have generated $59 million in savings over 12 years.
    • The Presland Net-Zero Pre-fabricated retrofit pilot demonstrates energy-efficient transformations, with a focus on waterproofing, insulation, and the replacement of gas systems with heat pumps.
  3. Innovative Retrofit Strategies in Zaragoza, Spain:
    • Paloma Bozman shares a European perspective on building retrofit policies, emphasizing the EU Green Deal’s priority on renovating public buildings.
    • In Zaragoza, the focus is on reducing heating and cooling energy, particularly in privately-owned buildings, where 59% lack insulation and 10% are energetically inefficient.
    • The city aims for 3% annual refurbishment to achieve neutrality by 2030, providing municipal grants and subsidies to encourage retrofits, especially in areas selected for National Recovery plans benefitting vulnerable populations.
  4. Energy Retrofit Guide and Funding Opportunities in Canada:
    • Natural Resources Canada’s prefabricated exterior energy retrofit guide provides a framework for retrofit projects worldwide, emphasizing the EnergieSprong passive house standard.
    • In Canada, various grants and incentive programs support deep retrofits, with significant long-term savings exceeding half a million CAD per retrofit.
    • Despite the upfront costs, the retrofits prove cost-effective, and aggregating demand is crucial for signaling the market and encouraging manufacturers to engage.
  5. European Context and Local Strategies for Zero Emissions:
    • The EU Green Deal emphasizes the renovation of public buildings, giving EU countries the opportunity to establish recovery plans.
    • Zaragoza, Spain, faces challenges with a majority of housing lacking insulation, and efforts focus on privately-owned buildings to achieve neutrality by 2030.
    • Spanish Municipal grants, subsidies, and National Recovery plans drive retrofit initiatives, particularly in vulnerable populations, offering a maximum grant of 21,400 EUR per dwelling for achieving maximum energy savings.

Download the Presentations:

Presentation Retrofitting social houses and buildings – Ottawa – Melissa Jort Conway

Presentation Retrofitting social houses and buildings – Ottawa – Dan Dicaire

Presentation Retrofitting social houses and buildings – Zaragoza – Paloma Bozman

Presentation Retrofitting social houses and buildings – Aurora – Alessandro Minnella

22nd of November 2023

Retrofitting Social Houses and Buildings: Reducing Labour and Achieve Net-Zero Energy Performance


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube’s privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Cities face significant challenges in decarbonizing and improving the resilience of their aging housing stock. Panelization promises to reduce the labour involved with deep retrofits. This webinar covers Canada’s first panelized retrofit to achieve net-zero energy performance, the Presland Net-Zero PEER Pilot.
Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) will share the results of this ambitious project, which represents a replicable, scalable model for retrofits nationwide. OCH will explain its role as a general contractor and panel fabricator. Dan Dicaire and Mark Carver will also share details from the construction process, monitoring, and results from actual energy and hygrothermal performance vs. modeled results.
One year post-retrofit, the presenters will reflect on the approach used and lessons learned, costs, supply chain issues, tenant impacts, and the role prefabrication may play in addressing aging affordable housing. The Prefabricated Exterior Energy Retrofit (PEER) Guide will be shared, including step–by–step technical guidance for replicating such a project. 

  1. Ottawa Community Housing Overview:
    • Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) manages 15,000 units, with two-thirds located in buildings over 50 years old.
    • OCH aims to achieve net-zero emissions and is actively seeking decarbonization opportunities across its corporate, infrastructure, and tenant-related emissions.
  2. Retrofitting Challenges and Goals:
    • OCH faces a need to reduce 1600 tonnes of CO2 annually, requiring the retrofitting of 800+ homes each year.
    • The housing crisis in Ottawa, with a 10,000-person waitlist, poses challenges for relocating residents during retrofits.
  3. Presland PEER Pilot Success:
    • The Presland PEER Pilot successfully retrofitted a 1960s building, transforming it into a net-zero emissions structure.
    • Techniques employed include LIDAR scans for precise measurements, prefabrication of retrofit components, and mechanical upgrades for improved energy efficiency.
  4. Energy Efficiency and Cost Considerations:
    • Retrofits result in a 66% reduction in energy use compared to pre-retrofit modeling, validating the effectiveness of the initiatives.
    • While upfront costs are higher, the long-term modeled cost over 60 years shows a $500k reduction, emphasizing the economic viability of retrofits.
  5. Key Success Factors and Ongoing Initiatives:
    • Engaging tenants is crucial for success, requiring communication, safety measures during construction, and educational programs about building efficiency.
    • OCH is actively developing a strategy to eliminate GHG emissions while addressing capital needs and seeking sustainable funding methods.
    • NRCAN’s PEER guide and additional resources on grants and funding opportunities provide valuable support for similar projects.

Download the Presentation:

Presentation Net-Zero PEER Pilot