Sustainable building renovation – strategies and processes

Per Anker Jensen, Liane Thuvander, Paula Femenias, Henk Visscher

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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)
Original languageEnglish
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)157-160
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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