Meet our Energy Trailblazer: Fellipe Falluh
Founder, Retrofit Construction
Meet Fellipe Falluh, a civil and environmental engineer from McGill University. Falluh founded his company Retrofit Construction when he was just 24 years of age. He comes from a family of builders in Brazil making him a third-generation contractor who was inspired to take an entrepreneurial path. Falluh has dedicated his life to catalyzing, consulting, and executing retrofits in the built environment. His current #retrofit on a 100-year old duplex in Montreal will establish the building as the first #net-zero ready certified building in the province of Quebec.
Right now, the company is small — just Falluh himself — and situated in Montreal. However, he’s already getting work, and is hoping to bring his services to people across Canada.
Falluh graduated from McGill University in 2019 with a degree in civil engineering, and a minor in environmental engineering.
“I’m young, so a lot of my interest in sustainability has actually come from my education. The new generation is being taught we have to be a lot more efficient with our resources and be sustainable.”
Throughout his schooling, he worked on several projects that focused on energy efficiency and green building, but his interest was formally piqued after a professor at the school introduced him to the idea of a passive house. Ever since then, Falluh’s been a die-hard energy efficiency fan.
“I’ve been obsessed with it, trying to push that forward in Canada,” he said.
In 2018, Falluh worked for two general contractors in the Montreal area on some LEED projects before starting his company. Retrofit Construction does building, development and consulting services on retrofit projects
His first project is slated to be a duplex in Montreal — he hopes to get the house to as close to net-zero energy expenditures as possible. Working in this field in Montreal is no easy task. The city has an abundance of hydro power, and a massive stock of aging infrastructure and historic or character buildings, all of which need to be considered at every build and every retrofit. All the same, this — along with recent increases in government incentives for energy efficiency — just means there’s a large market.
The weapons in his arsenal are familiar ones: better doors, windows, insolation, heat ventilation recovery units and energy efficient appliances. But Falluh is hoping to bring something new to Canada as well.
The new business owner hopes to focus on prefabricated exterior retrofits. He was inspired by a Dutch program called Energiesprong, which slaps pre-fab panels on the outside of a building to reduce its heating bill.
Recently, Falluh has been involved with Bâtiment Passif Quebec, a non-profit which aims to promote the passive house certification in Quebec, and the French language. He also recently started a podcast Au-delà des Murs (Beyond the Walls). The podcast covers high performance construction and buildings in order to catalyse the Quebec market and to educate his audience.
Going forward, he wants to build these panels locally, and make a name for himself by being an early adopter of the tech within Canada. There are many benefits to the technique, he said.
“There’s no intrusion. You don’t have to disrupt the tenants inside. It’s a great way to do it,” he said. “It’s a very easy approach.”
Falluh sees himself as part of a new generation of builders, a fresh cohort of millennials armed with skills and passion for green and energy efficient building coming out of school. However, because this field is so new, it’s not the most common thing to find in the pages of a university textbook. So, he said, the best thing to do is learn from those with a bit more experience.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in the industry,” he said. “If anyone has a question, just reach out to me.”
Fellipe’s Career Journey
Fellipe pursued an undergraduate degree in civil engineering at McGill University and Professional License, P. Eng.
Project Management Certificate
Fellipe obtained an LEED accredited professional certification.
On the job experience
Fellipe works as a contractor on Green Building projects, retrofitted his own home/duplex in Montreal, and founded a company specializing in Deep Energy Retrofits.
Advice on entering the energy efficiency sector
As a female and a Black female, there are always going to be obstacles. That doesn’t mean, however, that I didn’t face them head-on. I like a challenge. I welcome it, actually. It motivates me. So for any women out there who are BIPOC or women in general, we are dominating a very male-induced industry.
Where things are trending in workforce development is, upskilling the soft skills that you don’t have. We’ve recognized that it’s not just learning the technical stuff, you have to give them the management skills and the business skills and the stakeholder engagement skills.
The great thing is that with this sector, there is such a need for workers that they are offering courses to everyone. That’s really opening up for people. You don’t need to go back to school necessarily. Go do a degree or diploma. You can take like little courses at a time to upskill yourself and make yourself relevant.