Targetting renovation investments for greatest energy efficiency gains

New research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology may have found a way of identifying which buildings offer the greatest potential when it comes to retrofitting for energy efficiency.  Thanks to these finding it may be possible to indentify which retrofitting programs offer the highest return on investment and have the greatest impact on a city's overall greenhouse gas emissions.

The research starts from the premise that not all buildings are equal.  It may therefore be preferable to focus renovation investment on the least efficient buildings, offerring greater energy efficiency gains, rather than on buildings which already perform relatively well.  However, for local authorities to identify which buildings offer the greatest potential can often prove challenging.

According to the researchers, by focusing on how much energy people use during winter months it is already possible to conduct an initial evaluation of a city's housing stock.  The key indicator here is families monthly gas bills.  By comparing anonymised bill information from energy suppliers with city-provided data on the size and volume of the buildings, combined with weather data showing the outside temperatures during the study period, researchers found that they could make detailed predictions about which buildings would benefit the most from the retrofits.

As highlighted during The Concrete Initiative's last Thematic Lunch of 2015, the modernisation of European buildings and infrastructure is going to require a smart mix of new, rebuilt and rennovated construction works.  This is particularly important when taking into consideration other social issues, such as the lack of affordable housing.

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Tags: renovation, affordable housing, energy efficiency, rebuild, retrofit

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