Deep Energy Retrofit Steps

  1. Step 1:

    Upgrading your home’s building envelope.

  2. Step 2:

    Updating your home’s mechanical system.

  3. Step 3:

    Adding renewable energy systems to your energy-efficient home.

See Steps Overview

Renewables & Resilience Retrofit Measures

With your home’s heating, cooling, and electricity loads brought down from energy-hog levels closer to net-zero ready and passive house levels, renewable and resilience measures can take your home to net-zero, as an asset for a smart grid, or even into a producer of energy.

Adding renewable energy generation capacity to your home will help reduce reliance on the grid.

Illustration of a cross-section of a house with renewable energy features highlighted.

Before you start your project, get an EnerGuide home energy evaluation to understand how your home uses energy and identify all improvement opportunities. Check with your municipality, utility or retailer to see if there are any relevant rebates available. For installation, hire professional installers who can determine the right product and size for your home and climate. 

Renewables & Resilience measures include: 

Electric Vehicle Chargers 

Electric Vehicle Chargers, more commonly known as EV Chargers or Electrical Vehicle Charging Stations, deliver energy to both all-electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. There are two types of chargers available for home use: 

  • Level 1 chargers, which use a standard 120 V wall outlet and provide three to eight km of range per hour of charging time. Level 1 chargers can take eight to 16 hours for a full charge. 
  • Level 2 chargers, which require a 240 V wall outlet (like those used for clothes dryers and electric stoves) and provide 16 to 80 km of range per hour of charging time. They require four to six hours to fully charge, depending on the battery size. 

What to Look For 

  • Install an ENERGY STAR® certified model which uses 40% less energy when not actively charging a vehicle – which is typically 85% of the time. 
  • A unit with Wi-Fi capability to allow for remote power monitoring.
  • If you do not park your EV in a garage, you’ll need a charger rated for outdoor use. 

Things to Consider 

  • Charging at home, and at night, is the least expensive way to charge your electric vehicle. 
  • Level 2 chargers typically require a permit from your local Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) and should be installed by a licensed electrician.
  • If your main breaker is under 150 amps, installing a Level 2 charger will require your home’s electrical services to be upgraded.
  • Level 1 chargers are better suited for owners who drive, on average, less than 50 km a day. 
  • Before plugging in a Level 1 charge, make sure the outlet is in good condition and does not supply any other outlets. 
  • When ordering your charger, make sure the charging cable is long enough. 

Cost: $1,700 to $4,000+, including installation.

Home Batteries 

Home batteries, also known as home battery storage or electric energy storage, are rechargeable batteries that can store energy to power your home when needed. Energy storage technologies have improved significantly in recent years, making them less expensive and more efficient than previous models. There are two types of energy storage batteries available: 

  • Lead batteries, which have a five to 15-year life expectancy, are cheaper but need more maintenance. 
  • Lithium-based batteries, which are more expensive but compact, maintenance-free, and charge and discharge faster. 

Storing your excess solar power in a home battery allows you to power your home on overcast days or at night, making your home less dependent on grid power. Whether your home has solar panels or not, home battery storage is a reliable, emissions-free source of backup power that doesn’t produce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. In communities with peak and off-peak time-of-use rates, your home battery can also take advantage of charging with cheaper electricity while you’re sleeping and provide energy during the day when electricity from the grid is more expensive. 

What to Look For 

  • Find the appropriate size of battery, or batteries, for your home. 
  • The capacity of a single home battery storage unit can range from five kWh to 13.5 kWh (the average home uses about 30 kWh of energy a day), but multiple units can be added together to create a larger home energy storage system. 

Things to Consider 

  • Use your battery to charge your electric vehicle at night, which will save you money and energy. 
  • Replace a generator with a home battery to provide power during power outages, as they don’t produce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • Factor in the life expectancy of the model you wish to buy – home batteries can only be charged a specific number of times – so you know when you need to replace the unit. 

Cost: $6,000 to $30,000 per system, including hardware and installation. 

Solar Photovoltaic Panels 

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems convert energy from the sun into electricity. With a solar PV system, power from your panels flows into the home to meet your energy needs, and any excess solar energy is sent to the grid.  

During hours when the panels don’t generate electricity (at night or on overcast days), your home draws power from the grid. Solar PV panels have few operating costs and can be installed on any kind of home or building, providing a safe and reliable source of electricity that produces no on-site pollution or emissions. And the fuel – sunshine – is free! 

What to Look For 

  • Work with a qualified system designer to select the appropriate technology and system size for your home. The Canadian Solar Industries Association provides guidance on selecting qualified solar energy service providers. 
  • Make sure your home is as energy-efficient as possible before you add solar to reduce the need for a larger system that your property might not be able to accommodate. 
  • To determine the right size system for your home, review your energy bills for the past 12 months to see how much energy you use. 
  • Hire a solar contractor and install and connect your system to the utility. 

Things to Consider 

  • Consider adding energy storage (batteries) to store electricity generated by your system for future use. 
  • Make sure your roof is in good condition, beforehand. It should be less than five years old.
  • The orientation of your roof matters – the priority should be south-facing roofs, followed by west and then east. 
  • Trees and buildings that shade your roof can lead to a less productive system. 

Cost :  $2,000 – $4,000 per KW.

Solar Water Heaters 

Solar hot water heaters, also known as, solar domestic hot water (SDHW) systems, use the sun’s energy to generate hot water, which lowers your energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions. While solar water heaters have longer life expectancy than other types of water heaters, they are generally designed for use with a back-up water heater, like heat pump or gas. A tankless (on-demand) water heater may also be used as the back-up. 

What to Look For 

  • An ENERGY STAR®-certified solar water heater will use 60% less energy, on average, than a standard model. 
  • Choose a freeze-protected system for year-round use in our Canadian climates. 
  • Make sure you purchase a tank-size appropriate for the number of people in your house. 

Things to Consider 

  • Hire a qualified solar thermal systems contractor to install your system, as they will need experience in electrical, plumbing and carpentry. Solar hot water heaters must be installed to CSA standards. 
  • Solar water heating systems almost always require a back-up system for cloudy days and times of increased demand. 
  • If you have a heated swimming pool, solar systems can drastically reduce your utility bills and save you even more. 

Cost: $6,000 – $10,000 with installation. 

Source:  Natural Resources Canada 

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Step 1 of a home energy retrofit project

Learn about the measures involved in upgrading your home's building envelope.

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Step 2 of a home energy retrofit project

Learn about the measures involved in upgrading the mechanicals in your home.

View Step 2