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Anker Jensena, Per and Thuvander, Liane and Femenias, Paula and Visscher, Henk Sustainable building renovation – strategies and processes. Sustainable Building Renovation – Strategies and processes, 40. pp. 157-160. ISSN Issue 3

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The need for building renovation is receiving increased attention in many countries around the world. One reason for this is an ageing building stock. Another reason is the urgent need to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in buildings. The UNFCCC Paris Agreement at COP 21 in 2015 agreed on limitation of the global temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels by 2050. This requires a fast transition to renewable and fossil free energy. Reaching the goal won’t be feasible without reducing the energy demand where possible and this also applies to buildings. Globally, the building sector accounts for approximately 28% of total energy-related CO2 emissions (IEA 2019). Therefore, a major contribution to achieving emissions reductions must come from renovation of the existing stock to increase insulation and changing the building services (heat, cold, ventilation, electricity) to carbon free systems. Insights in the energy efficiency of residential buildings in Europe and the monitoring of the progress of renovation can be found in a special issue of Energy and Buildings (Visscher et al. 2016). The rate of renovation needs to speed up and the renovations should be deeper (IEA 2019). Deep renovation is addressed further on in this article. Central and local governments all over the world are translating the carbon reduction goals to policies and action plans for retrofitting the existing building stocks. As a concrete example, the European Commission presented October 2020 an integrated policy and support action “A Renovation Wave for Europe - greening our buildings, creating jobs, improving lives” (EC 2020). The plan describes the high aimed goals and huge challenges and barriers to overcome for the European building stock. It makes clear that research and innovation will be needed to overcome the barriers. (Wade & Visscher 2021) There is at the same time a need to upgrade many buildings to improve the quality of life – social sustainability, and to increase productivity in the building process to ensure affordable housing – economic sustainability. Research in Sustainable Building Renovation (SBR) has also increased. An editorial article by the first guest editor of this special issue included a proposal for a research agenda for SBR based on a review article (Jensen et al. 2017, 2018). The identified research gaps and needs for new research are summarized below. This special issue of Construction Management and Economics aimed at publishing new research which contributes to or supplement this research agenda. The barriers for SBR have been studied broadly and the drivers for SBR are also quite well researched. The barriers can be divided in economic and informational aspects. Among the economic barriers is the landlord/tenant’s dilemma (Ástmarsson et al. 2013). Building renovation is mainly initiated because there is an accumulated backlog of maintenance and degraded/outdated building components. Thus, to promote sustainable renovation including energy improvements, financial incentives are important drivers, but it is also important to take various stakeholders’ different interests into account. There is a need to develop new instruments to increase the volume of SBR and methods to evaluate such instruments. The focus of most research on building renovation has so far been on deep renovation. Deep Renovation or Deep Energy Renovation is a term for a renovation that captures the full economic energy efficiency potential of improvement works, with a main focus on the building shell, of existing buildings that leads to a very high-energy performance (Global Buildings Performance Network 2013). Such renovations are encouraged in European energy policies (EU 2016, EC 2020). A main argument for deep renovations is that they are a necessity to achieve radical improvements in energy efficiency. However, recent research in Sweden has observed a trend of housing associations moving towards applying partial or over-time renovation strategies (Femenías et al. 2018). There is a need for research on the diversity of current and potential new strategies for SBR including renovation over time (Fawsett 2014), and of both singular building projects, portfolios of buildings and districts. The renovation process has been studied in several research papers, but mostly in terms of case studies and dominated by preconceptions of rational decision-making and development of normative guidelines. There are only few examples of broader cross-sectional research studies investigating specific aspects of renovation processes among a larger sample of projects, companies, professionals and/or countries. One example is the study by Gluch et al. (2018). There is a need for more in-depth descriptive and cross-sectional studies of SBR processes in practice to reach a deeper understanding of the different sub-processes of renovation, for instance collection of data on buildings before renovation, the actual use of tools in different renovation sub-processes, the characteristics of processes for different building types and organizations. The organization of SBR projects has only been researched to a very limited degree and there have been limited attempts in practice to develop new forms of organization of SBR. Outside of building renovation, there have been recent studies that examine new form of cross-sectoral collaborations to drive social value through construction projects (e.g. Barraket and Loosemore 2018). There is thus scope to draw inspiration from these studies to feature research that can support increasing the performance of SBR, for instance, by improved collaboration across the value chain and across sectors with more learning across projects and companies. The application of relational contracting seems a promising direction for further development of building renovation. There have been intensive research and development of tools and systems to support decision-making, design and evaluation of SBR projects (see e.g. Mjörnell et al. 2014, Malmgren and Mjörnell 2015, Malmgren et al. 2016), but only few with a focus on portfolios of projects. Exceptions are Nielsen et al. (2018), Österbring et al. (2019) and Nägeli et al. (2019). Moreover, the methods for evaluation of social sustainability are underdeveloped, as well as consideration for architectural and historic values (Thuvander et al. 2012), and there is a lack of integration of evaluating the different pillars of sustainability. Only a few attempts to integrate different values can be found, as in Serrano-Jiménez et al. (2021). There is a need to develop more holistic methods for prioritising and evaluating SBR. While there has been a stronger technological emphasis in previous studies on SBR, there is growing interest in taking into account the perspectives of building users (see e.g. Mangold et al. 2016, Buser and Carlsson 2017, Tjørring and Gausset 2019). This more social viewpoint is critical as there is a need for more research that can support a pull from the demand side, including building owners, facilities managers and end-users to disclose and drive unfulfilled needs and new opportunities. The increased political focus on SBR makes it important to investigate and demonstrate the contribution that SBR can have in relation to solving important societal challenges, for instance, in relation to UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, climate change, energy transition, circularity, industrialization, digital transformation, affordable housing provision and equality, heritage preservation, social value and quality of life

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Renovation; Energy; Sustainability; energy efficiency; Methods;
Subjects: English > Climate Change Adaptation
Depositing User: Susanna Carlsten
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2022 10:29
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2022 10:29

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