Whole House Remodel and Deep Energy Retrofit

Location: Bend, Oregon

We do not remodel homes very frequently. At Solaire Homebuilders, we mostly build custom, sustainable homes on your land, so this project was a unique opportunity. The clients, a couple from Bend, reached out to Solaire because they wanted an experienced local builder that specializes in green building but is also familiar and comfortable working with an existing ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) structure for their whole house remodel and deep energy retrofit. They had recently purchased a 21-year-old home for its location & large property, but the residence’s outdated finishes, flow and size didn’t meet their needs. Their goal was to update & expand the home while significantly reducing energy usage and improving indoor air quality. With an existing solar-energy array already at the home, energy performance upgrades were added to reduce the energy use of the home. The Solaire Homebuilders team worked together to make the home more comfortable, functional and redesigned with the future in mind.

This home, located in Bend, Oregon, was originally constructed out of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) – blocks of polystyrene foam with space in between to pour concrete walls. ICF walls are typically between 6” and 12” thick, they seal well (preventing air leakage) and have two layers of continuous insulation which prevents thermal bridging. They also have a lifespan of over 100 years. ICF buildings resist natural disasters such as flooding, fire & earthquakes and require minimal maintenance. We brought in a special saw to cut through portions of the existing ICF walls and worked with West Peak ICF of Oregon to add new additional ICF walls to expand the home’s footprint.

A deep energy retrofit (abbreviated as DER) represents a comprehensive overhaul, including replacing windows and installing advanced HVAC systems for optimal energy efficiency. Conventional energy retrofits (or a low energy retrofit) focus on isolated system upgrades (i.e. just lighting or just upgrading heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment). These retrofits are generally simple and fast, but they often miss opportunity for saving more energy cost-effectively. A deep energy retrofit achieves much greater energy efficiency by taking a whole-building approach and by addressing many systems at once. This approach is the most economical and convenient in older buildings with overall poor energy efficiency performance, with multiple systems nearing the end of useful life. Retrofitting is an integral part of energy-use and carbon footprint reduction, as well as lowering demolition waste and the building sector’s overall carbon impact.

2,923 sq. feet
3 bedrooms
3 baths

Garage: 1,579 SF


Retrofitting, refurbishment and renovation are terms used in the construction industry to describe different types of building upgrades and improvements. Retrofitting refers to the process of enhancing a building’s energy performance by integrating new technologies and systems into the existing structure. Refurbishment involves repairing, restoring and upgrading an existing building to improve its overall condition and functionality. Renovation, like refurbishment, focuses on improving a building’s condition but it typically involves more extensive changes such as altering the layout or design of a space. This project involved all three “R’s” – retrofitting the pre-existing ICF structure of the home with an ICF addition, renovating the way the homeowners wanted to use the space as they age in place, and refurbishing the existing living spaces including the bathrooms, kitchen and laundry.

Careful planning is required for this type of a whole house remodel and deep energy retrofit. Unfortunately, this is not the kind of remodeling project where you can safely reside inside the home during construction (see our photos from during construction!) Our homeowners packed their belongings into a storage unit on their property and moved into temporary housing with their two dogs for several months. A deep energy retrofit like this can significantly reduce household energy consumption if nothing is overlooked. This included balanced ventilation with new ductless HVAC systems, energy efficient lighting and appliances, and high-performance windows and doors. We also ensured the building envelope was fully insulated and the home’s air barrier was complete.

For homeowners struggling with wanting to upgrade their existing older home, there are other options besides a whole house remodel, or a deep energy retrofit.  Homes that are poorly insulated and not airtight (i.e. most conventional homes) waste the energy used to heat and cool the home through conduction and air leakage. Retrofitting an existing home can drastically reduce energy use and improve performance by 50% or more. If you want to stay in your existing home, we encourage you to take steps to upgrade to a net zero energy usage end goal. This can be achieved by:

  • Upgrading the mechanical systems
  • Fixing the building’s air seal by super insulating the home and roof
  • Replacing leaky windows with energy efficient ones
  • Buying Energy Star (or better) appliances, lighting, and fixtures
  • Consider adding a renewable energy source like solar panels to reduce utility bills

When you build your home with Solaire Homebuilders, you benefit from our experience in designing and building high performance homes. As Central Oregon’s original sustainable and high-performance home builder, we have the resources you need to ensure your new home performs to the level of energy-efficiency you desire. We build resilient homes with future generations in mind. A Solaire-built home, or in this case a Solaire re-built home, is meant to last 100s of years. Our homeowners aren’t just building homes, they are investing in their legacy. Our homes are energy efficient, healthier and more comfortable to live in. We build lifelong homes meant to last your lifetime. While we primarily specialize in new construction, we were honored to help this couple bring their green dream home into reality.

Green features:

  • Responsibly Farmed Eucalyptus wood exterior.
  • Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) exterior walls.
  • Blown-in-blanket wall insulation.
  • EPS air seal.
  • Energy efficient windows.
  • Ductless mini-split HVAC.
  • Replaced old gas water heater with high efficiency electric water heater.
  • Replaced all lighting in the home with LED.
  • Low VOC paint.
  • Induction cooktop.

Design Features:

  • Custom shiplap Eucalyptus wood paneling and millwork on front porch.
  • Oversized soffits and custom built 8 foot front door with matching sidelights.
  • Contemporary finishes with an Asian Influence (Japandi style).
  • Contemporary tile in bathrooms and kitchen.
  • Handblown glass vessel koi fish sink in the powder room.
  • Custom cabinetry and millwork throughout the home.
  • Gourmet kitchen with custom cabinetry, quartz countertops, upgraded kitchen appliances, Subzero fridge and walk-in butler’s pantry.
  • Primary spa-like walk-in shower with floor to ceiling tile and rainhead fixture and window for natural light.
  • Freestanding soaker bathtub in primary bath suite.
  • Contemporary custom two-sided gas fireplace.
  • Cement Elegance hearth and custom natural wood beam mantle.
  • Oversized RV garage and home gym.
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