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Retrofit the Future

Project Lead: Laura Tozer

The Retrofit the Future project focuses on understanding how to catalyze deep energy retrofits for the households that need them the most.


Buildings produce almost 1/5 of our greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, which means that energy retrofits are required to meet our climate targets. Yet, building retrofits to increase energy efficiency and enable decarbonization have been difficult to implement effectively. They have been a particularly challenging climate solution to implement despite the fact that they can realize greenhouse gas emission reductions more quickly, are cost-effective compared to other climate change mitigation actions, and can be achieved using existing technologies. Not only do we not know how to scale up retrofits fast enough to meet climate targets, our efforts to date have often failed to reach low-income households that are vulnerable to energy poverty. Energy poverty is when energy bills take up a larger than average proportion of household spending and households are unable to afford measures to reduce energy use through retrofits. We need a better understanding of how to drastically scale up retrofits without leaving households vulnerable to energy poverty behind.


This project is trying to understand how to scale up equity-based retrofits. We’re working with community partners in a few areas:

  • Analyzing low-income energy efficiency programs across Canada to understand their design, outcomes, and implementation
  • Further developing vulnerability based approaches to energy poverty in Canada
  • Focusing specifically on private rental residential buildings, exploring whether and how deep energy retrofits can be implemented while maintaining housing security