Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Ottawa Community Housing’s Sustainability team has partnered with Natural Resources Canada on an innovative project that focuses on improving the energy efficiency of affordable housing, by retrofitting homes to Net-Zero energy and Net-Zero Greenhouse gas emissions.

The Prefabricated Exterior Energy Retrofit (PEER) Pilot Project is a solution aimed at breathing new life into four, 70-year-old townhomes on Presland Road in Ottawa’s Overbrook neighbourhood.

This innovative retrofit involves the installation of prefabricated, insulated panels to the exterior of the home without the need to re-locate tenants. To be able to complete the work, staff constructed a workshop dedicated to the creation of panels and brought the research to life with their innovation and hard work.

How does it work?

A highly insulated and airtight shell was built and placed over the home’s roof and existing walls, right down to the foundation. A heating and cooling system with an electrical heat pump was installed, making the homes energy efficient and Greenhouse gas emission free. Doors, windows and the roof were replaced. Finally, an array of solar panels were installed on the south-facing roof of the four townhomes. The solar panels will generate enough power annually to offset the consumption of the four homes – making them Net-Zero.

The four Presland Road townhomes before the retrofit.
Prefabricated panels were built at a separate workshop and delivered on-site.
The four townhomes in April 2021, as the project nears completion.


Check out this video which provides an overview of this innovative project:

Articles and Case studies on the PEER Project

Other Links

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does this project benefit OCH and the tenants?   

Ottawa Community Housing manages 15,000 homes all throughout Ottawa. Two-thirds of the housing stock is more than 50 years old. The city’s Waiting List for affordable housing has more than 10,000 people on it.

We need to maintain our existing stock while building new affordable homes. This pilot is a deep energy retrofit, which is traditionally costly, slow and disruptive. At Presland, we were able to get funding for 50 percent of the cost of the project. The project also reduces the disruption for tenants by performing much of the work from the outside of the building while the building is occupied.

2. When will work begin? 

Work began in spring of 2020. The project will conclude in August 2021 with final landscaping of the exterior. 

3. What are some of the methods OCH is using to reduce energy consumption and eliminate Green House Gas emissions with this renovation?   

The natural gas heating system will be removed and replaced with an electric heat pump. The hot water tanks were replaced with a heat pump as well. Additionally, 35-kw of solar panels will be placed on the south-facing roof. The solar panels will generate as much electricity as the building consumes each year making the homes net-zero. New windows and doors were installed. Heat recovery ventilators were installed to keep as much heat inside of the building as possible and further reduce energy consumption. The new building envelope has 10 inches of insulation to keep the building warm and a new air and vapour barrier to make it airtight. This eliminates most of the building’s convective and conductive heat losses, keeping the heat in the home and reducing energy requirements. 

This post is also available in: Français (French)