Dedicated to sustainable,
high performance building

Energy Retrofits – Comparing Active and Passive Strategies

Energy Retrofits – Comparing Active and Passive Strategies
Spring 2017 SABMag ConEd Article
GBCI: 0920012837

The article describes how a post-secondary institution selected retrofit packages when presented with many possible options, including both envelope and HVAC strategies. It provides an overview of the N Building Energy Retrofit Project at Humber College in Toronto, and the process it underwent in order to help achieve the University’s Integrated Energy Master Plan’s energy and greenhouse gas targets. It clarifies the important aspects of a holistic approach to energy savings as it relates to Humber College selecting an energy retrofit package for the N building.

The article introduces the reader to the relationship between the energy savings of a retrofit strategy and the cost implications of that strategy, and discusses how particular potential strategies for the N Building were evaluated based on cost and energy savings. The article also uses the N Building as a case study to introduce the reader to various building envelope design and maintenance issues, such as exposed structure and lack of a rainscreen system, which have adversely affected the overall energy performance of the building and the occupant thermal comfort and indoor air quality.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the value of retrofitting existing buildings over demolishing and constructing new buildings, and why this can help reduce costs, increase occupant health and thermal comfort, and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Understand deferred maintenance and why the growing amount of unaddressed deferred maintenance items are negatively impacting the overall energy performance of buildings.
  3. Understand the aspects of a holistic energy analysis, and the factors and outcomes owners must consider when making decisions on a retrofit package under a holistic energy analysis framework.
  4. Understand the relationship between passive or active retrofit strategies, and the building’s life cycle and long-term durability.

All articles offered by SABMag are GBCI approved. To qualify for continuing education learning hours, practitioners must first read the technical article below, and then proceed to complete the short quiz at the end. You must receive 80% on the quiz to record the activity as part of your continuing education. An email will be sent to you and will act as your certificate of completion once you have successfully completed the requirements.

In order to obtain your CEU Certificate of Completion for this course (1h CE):

STEP 1 : Read the article Energy Retrofits - Comparing Active and Passive Strategies (PDF format)

STEP 2 : Take the quiz and get a minimum of 8 out of 10 correct answers to receive your Certificate of Completion.

Quiz by: Aman Hehar and Matthew Tokarik


Most Canadian Universities normalize emissions against total building square footage or student population when tracking the total carbon emissions of their buildings or building portfolios.


An important factor contributing to the thermal discomfort of occupants in the N building is/are:


What item, as a result of value-engineering, was omitted from the original design of the N building, and has since caused significant maintenance and repair issues?


The energy required to extract and process raw materials, then fabricate, transport and install building products is known as:


Poor occupant thermal comfort and indoor air quality are common problems in buildings:


Constructing new buildings, rather than retrofitting existing buildings, is typically desirable because it delivers more space for less capital.


Deferred maintenance’ refers to the total financial value of the building, minus the cost of building maintenance and repairs that are past due.


All possible retrofit options of the N building were included in the energy model and were subject to a detailed analysis.


Morrison Hershfield’s simulation tool, which compared retrofit options against a variety of measures such as EUI, Energy and Cost Savings, is known as:


What does IEMP stand for as it refers to Humber College’s campus goals outlined in 2015?

First and Last Name
Occupation / Business Name
Email Address