The Deep Retrofit Challenge is Coming!

The Toronto Skyline

We wrote about this earlier on, but the federal government has committed to supporting net zero emissions programs to help drive down emissions by 2030 and beyond. The Deep Retrofit Challenge is one such example The program challenges 10-16 multi-residential and commercial buildings to compete against each other to reduce their emissions output by at least 80%.

The goal of the program is to bring awareness and incentivize other companies to retrofit their own buildings by showcasing the positive effects of retrofitting. The program is also being used to promote the city’s new Net Zero Existing Buildings Strategy, which aims to reduce emissions from buildings in Toronto by 2040.

The Challenge Details

The challenge is paired with enticing grants to offset the costs of retrofitting and to appeal to building owners and operators, but there are minimum requirements in order to qualify for the challenge.

All challengers are required to release all information regarding the retrofitting of their building to the public such as: energy use, cost, design and total project costs. Competitors also must volunteer for the Net Zero Existing Buildings Strategy created by the City of Toronto.

Interested? Check if your company is eligible here: Deep Retrofit Challenge. The challenge is expected to accept applications beginning in June 2022, with project completion ending on January 31 2023.

Pipes against a brick wall

What is Deep Retrofitting?

The Deep Retrofit Challenge was created in hopes of educating building owners and operators that achieving net zero goals can also mean lower total energy use and cost, creating a business case for sustainability goals. But what really is a deep retrofit?

A deep retrofit is a systematic bottom-up view to overhaul a building’s mechanical systems with the goal of reducing energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. These changes can lead to massive long-term savings due to reduced energy consumption after the retrofit has been completed.


Some key components of an ideal retrofit are:

  • Modifications made to the HVAC system to run more efficiently.
  • EV Charging Systems
  • Renewable electricity generation
  • Triple pane windows
  • Extra insultation
  • Move away from fossil fuels and natural gas heating systems and onto electrical heating pumps.

Small changes, taken collectively, can lead to fantastic results. Moving away from burning fossil fuels and transitioning to electricity can be a net positive, as the electrical systems throughout Ontario produce low carbon emissions compared to burning fossil fuels.

What is a Net Zero Building?

A net zero building is a highly energy efficient building that produces as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. This can be done by either the producing energy or offsetting energy. An example would be installing solar panels on site to generate electricity, thereby reducing the energy draw from the electrical grid. An example of offsetting would be purchasing carbon credits to negate the use of things such as heat boilers.

Start Your Retrofit Right With QMC

While starting a retrofit project can sound daunting, there are typically low hanging fruit available for quick energy wins. The most important element to understanding your utility usage for retrofits is accurate measurement and energy auditing.

For instance, QMC’s thermal energy auditing service is useful for institutions such as hospitals, military bases and colleges and universities to audit their existing systems. By installing a highly accurate thermal insertion meter, we calculate any discrepancies within the existing system.

This data is extremely useful for facility managers and energy managers as it provides them concrete data on what systems should be repaired and upgraded first.

QMC has 25 years of experience helping business get their properties to net zero and offers retrofitting services for various markets. To learn more, contact us today for more information.


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