Upgrade Opportunities for Buildings in City Centres
1 Universidade de Coimbra, Sustainable Energy Systems, Tv. de Montarroio, 2, 3000-288 Coimbra,
2 Universidade de Coimbra, Sustainable Energy Systems, Departamento de Engenharia Mecânica
This proposal focus on the potential of the existing buildings upgrade process in achieving the 20-20-20 goals, as these are the biggest energy consumers, the most significant built area and the better placed buildings within our cities.
These buildings frequently lack basic maintenance and need intervention, but include within themselves a vast amount of incorporated energy and centuries of construction knowledge. Beyond the advantages that may result from re-attracting people back into the city centre, upgrading these existing buildings can also have positive bounce-back effect on the reduction of the energy needs related to transportation, as demonstrated in studies that alert to the impact of the building sprawl in the total energy use.
As “buildings account for 40 % of total energy consumption in the Union”, the better performance of this sector has a significant role, remembering that “these requirements shall take account of general indoor climate conditions, in order to avoid possible negative effects such as inadequate ventilation, as well as local conditions and the designated function and the age of the building” .
The importance of “upgrading” the existing buildings resides on the fact that new buildings represent only approximately 1 or 2% of the total usable area, an estimate that is bound to decrease due to the current construction crisis. While the recent buildings tend to be more efficient, the numerous existing buildings are important stakeholders due to their massive consumptions and incorporated energy. The ongoing Annex 56 on “Energy & Greenhouse Gas Optimized Building Renovation” assumes that “Current standards do not respond effectively to the numerous constraints imposed by existing buildings and in many cases, the requirements result in very expensive measures and complex procedures, seldom accepted by occupants, owners or developers. It is then urgent for the new standards to respond to these constraints and to develop good practice guides that integrate appropriate, applicable and cost effective technologies (existing or emergent ones)” .
Many existing buildings that we still recognize assimilated the introduction of water networks and wastewater disposal, electricity and artificial lighting, new people and new uses. It is now time to help these buildings to embrace the XXI century revolution of smart cities while keeping our visible memory alive.
Key words: building “upgrade” or retrofit / energy policies
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2012