Design & Construction

Retrofitting Old Buildings with Prefab Facades

Retrofitting old buildings has become faster and less disruptive with a prefab, modular facade installed on top of an existing facade to instantly help the building save energy. And doing it while the residents continue living in the building. For cohousers rehabbing a building, this makes it possible to do an energy retrofit without delaying move-in or having to move out.

The prefab panels that attach to the exterior of walls are discussed under “World Changing Ideas” in Fast Company: Old buildings are inefficient: This prefab kit makes it easy to retrofit them

Exterior insulating panels for old buildings

A building being retrofitted with insulating panels. Photo by Henning Larsen in Fast Company.

“The world is burning, and all of us in our respective fields need to do something. If you look at the building industry as a whole, it’s very clear that we, in particular, need to make a change. If we want to make a difference as an industry, it means starting with what already exists, fixing what we already have. We need to be doubling the amount of transformation work we do. How can you start to renovate this mass of housing stock in a way that’s both energy efficient, and not deeply disruptive to the residents?”

Martin Vraa Nielsen, project co-leader
at the architecture firm Henning Larsen

The current project is a cooperative effort of eight organizations in Denmark to modernize the long blocks of “social” or non-profit housing built in the 1960s and ’70s.” There are many of these buildings throughout Europe.

There is a video of the installation process on the website, although the video shows a mockup of the process, not a unit where people are living.

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