Paper Conference

Proceedings of BSA Conference 2015: Second Conference of IBPSA-Italy


A holistic method for energy renovation of buildings: focus on users’ involvement

Giulia Degan, Carsten Rode, Daniele Vettorato, Marco Castagna

Abstract: The energy renovation of existing building stock has been widely acknowledged as having a key role to tackle the 20-20-20 European targets (EuroACE, 2014). However, many open challenges characterize the effectiveness of building renovations, for instance, procedural methods that consider the interaction of multiple variables and their influence on a specific building are still inadequate. The aim of the paper is to investigate a holistic method (Eriksen et al., 2013) that, if used during the diagnostic pre-renovation phase, allows for the evaluation and planning of strategic renovations. To achieve the aim, the holistic method was applied on a multi-storey building for social housing that must be renovated. Thus, investigations about economic, architectural, technical, user and legislative aspects were carried out to create an overview of the building’s features and needs. Thanks to the holistic diagnosis, the users’ involvement and active participation was found to be a challenge. Therefore, TRNSYS simulation software was employed to specifically assess how much users can influence the success of the renovation project. Specifically, the first step was the creation of a baseline model for the existing building. The baseline model calibration was based on the current thermal performance, which was derived from data collected during the holistic method application. Afterwards, two borderline renovation scenarios were developed: on one hand, a model conforming to a pre-feasibility study that does not entail users’ habits, and on the other a model that can be representative also of users’ behaviour. The rationale behind is to quantify the impact of users in case they are not considered or they are not willing to be part of the project and, hence, they do not modify their habits accordingly. Research results showed that the holistic method can contribute to optimizing the design that will be used in the renovation as it effectively assesses the multiple effects of the variables and it incorporates the users’ perspectives. Users are a crucial component to take into consideration from the beginning of a project. The paper represents other evidence of the importance of using building performance simulations (BPS) early in the design process to both assess the influence of users’ habits on the energy consumption and become a system check for subsequent further design phases.
Pages: 323 - 330