Retrofit of a Multifamily Mass Masonry Building in New England

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity (MVHfH) has partnered with Building Science Corporation to provide high performance affordable housing for 10 families in the retrofit of an existing brick building (a former convent) into condominiums. The research performed for this project provides information regarding advanced retrofit packages for multi-family masonry buildings in Cold climates. Inparticular, this project demonstrates safe, durable, and cost-effective solutions that will potentially benefit millions of multi-family brick buildings throughout the East Coast and Midwest (Cold climates). The retrofit packages provide insight on the opportunities for and constraints on retrofitting multifamily buildings with ambitious energy performance goals but a limited budget. Thecondominium conversion project will contribute to several areas of research on enclosures, space conditioning, and water heating. Enclosure items include insulation of mass masonry building on the interior, airtightness of these types of retrofits, multi-unit building compartmentalization, window selection, and roof insulation strategies. Mechanical system items include combined hydronic andspace heating systems with hydronic distribution in small (low load) units, and ventilation system retrofits for multifamily buildings.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages162
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Building Science Corporation, Somerville, Massachusetts

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5500-58133

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102013-3919


  • air barrier
  • air sealing
  • airtightness
  • budget constrain
  • central HRV system
  • combined hydronic and space heating system
  • compartmentalization
  • enclosures
  • freeze-thaw
  • hydronic distribution
  • incentives
  • individual HRV unit
  • mass masonry building
  • multi-family
  • rebates
  • retrofit
  • roof insulation
  • space conditioning
  • ventilation system
  • wall retrofit
  • water heating
  • window selection


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