By Mikayla Kolyvas • August 15, 2018

Is retrofitting the future of renovations?

In its simplest explanation, retrofitting refers to the addition of new features and technology to older houses or buildings. Examples of retrofitting strategies include:

  • Upgrading energy and water systems to minimise consumption
  • Considering solar shading devices
  • Replace existing windows with windows appropriate for climate and exposure.
  • Insulation and ventilation systems installed in the roof
  • Draught proofing doors and windows
  • Upgrade air-conditioning and find ways to introduce passive cooling/heating into the home.

Stakeholders and designers strive to meet sustainability goals and standards with their new build through innovative technologies, star ratings and special features. However, the thousands of builds of the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s that currently run through our cities and towns don’t meet the current sustainability targets. There are many opportunities for older homes and buildings to improve their efficiency capabilities and ratings through retrofitting procedures.

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Some statistics to consider:

  • 81% of commercial buildings are 10 years or older
  • Energy savings of 50-70% can be achieved through retrofitting these buildings
  • There is a potential $9billion in savings between 2015 to 2030 if we retrofit these buildings
  • Currently, only 2% of older commercial buildings have been retrofitted.

Some challenges:

  • Finance: Retrofitting is a long term initiative. In many cases, the building owners foot the bill while the tenants reap in the benefits, causing stakeholders to hesitate.
  • Planning: There are often unknowns in a building system, and plans often need to be changed and adapted during the renovation process
  • Existing tenants: Retrofitting occurs on an occupied and working asset. Tenants will experience inconveniences during the retrofitting upgrades.

Retrofitting is the future of renovations

A major transition has occurred, and retrofitting has become more common. In the last ten years, 20% of Australian homes have installed power panels. The Victorian Energy Efficiency Target has now carried out over three million upgrade.

Veolia (2018) gave an astounding example exemplifying the benefits of retrofitting. Kings Technology Park Melbourne conducted four upgrades to their building including installing a new air ducting system, new chillers, new cooling tower and installing a digital building control system. As a result, the asset now saves $250,000 per year on energy costs.

Acquiring a NABERS rating is a method used to assist in effectively retrofits existing buildings. It helps buildings reach sustainability goals by measuring their energy usage and highlighting the possible room for improvement forcing new and existing buildings to aim for better more sustainable energy usage goals. The team of architects and engineers at Certified Energy can provide your project with a NABERS star rating.

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Key reasons to retrofit include:

  1. Creates new assets for the home or building
  2. Long term cost savings to be had
  3. Strengthens the tenant/lessor relationship
  4. Increase a homes NatHERS energy rating and thermal comfort
  5. Reduction in energy bills

The highly qualified team at Certified Energy can provide you with a variety of services to assist retrofit your project and bring it to its full potential! We provide a variety of certifications and services to help improve the overall efficiency of your existing property! Our team can give you valuable advice and help you take the first step to retrofitting your property.

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Sources:

https://www.veolia.com/anz/five-rules-retrofit-0