Reskinning is how old condo buildings are transformed to 21st century energy efficient buildings.
Once reskinned, these buildings use less in utilities and cost less to maintain.
With over 1,500 “older” buildings throughout the GTA dealing with escalating energy costs, many of which are condo buildings with higher condo fees expected to pay for these higher costs, it is hoped that condo corporations avoid short-term solutions and consider tower renewal options.
Tower Renewal Guidelines is a 2009 document based on the teachings and research of a University of Toronto professor on how to improve on large buildings. To some this is the bible on how to transform older buildings so that they continue to serve residents for many more decades.
Grenadier Gardens, built in 1972, is a two-building complex near High Park. The condo corporation spent nearly $311,000 per year on balcony repairs between 2004 and 2010. They also had to find ways to reduce energy loss and water penetration through their windows.
In 2010 the condo corporation took a longer term approach to dealing with these challenges. They considered exterior wall repairs, at a cost of over $1 million, before adopting a more comprehensive plan at a cost of $5.9 million over three years. Given their healthy reserve fund, average monthly condo fees increased by $33 over the duration of the project. This allowed the building to be wrapped in the best known technology for insulation and protection. In addition to extending the life of the building into the 2060s, a reduction in their annual $330,000 natural gas bill by up to 50% was anticipated. Also anticipated were lower heating and cooling costs plus fewer water infiltrations.
Older reskinned buildings tend to offer better energy performance than today’s glass walled buildings, These newer buildings, which are comparable to 1960s buildings in terms of energy utilization, are energy-inefficient and costlier to maintain.