Sustainable building retrofitting has attracted serious research attention in recent years as it can significantly reduce energy consumption and thus help achieve energy reduction targets set by governments around the world. In this paper, a sustainable retrofit decision-making model is developed to uncover the optimal set of retrofit solutions according to local climatic conditions, building features, and retrofit costs. Net present value (NPV), a common method for analyzing the feasibility of a building retrofit solution, is used to determine the optimal retrofit solution of existing high-rise residential buildings in a temperate zone and hot summer-cold winter zone, involving prototypical 1990s apartments of 116 and 53 m2 floor areas respectively. This reveals that the lighting system, wall insulation, and upgraded window glazing are essential optimal retrofit measures for the temperate zone, whereas the heating system and shading devices are also essential for the hot summer-cold winter zone. The results indicate that the optimal NPV can be obtained by pursuing a 40% energy saving, as it can result in energy saving of up to 50 kWh/m2/year and 95 kWh/m2/year at an average retrofit cost of approximately USD 1.30 and 3.20 m2/year in the temperate and hot summer-cold winter zones respectively. The sensitivities associated with the most influential optimal NPV and energy savings input parameters are critically analyzed; these can be used by decision-makers to determine the risks and uncertainties related to various cost-effective retrofit measures. The model can help in devising the most suitable sustainable retrofit measures for existing buildings commensurate with the energy reduction targets of policy and decision-makers in the two climate zones. It is also amenable to being adapted for other climatic zones to identify the most appropriate sustainable building retrofit for particular local climatic conditions and building characteristics.