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Most buildings s are currently energy inefficient, and will still be in use in 2050. Urban and residential renovation programmes can help improve the built environment for families today and in the future. In 2015, the US Department of Energy issued its Assessment of Energy Technologies and Research Opportunities. In this document the DOE found the building sector accounts for 76% of electricity use in the US. More significant - 40% of that energy use resulted from improving occupant comfort through HVAC and lighting. By successfully targeting and prioritizing strategies that can improve energy efficiency and occupant comfort, it is possible to reduce energy use despite growing cities and economic activity.

The residential renovation cost per square foot is a small price to pay for the health and wellbeing of future generations. To make the future built environment more resilient, policymakers and residential property owners need to put renovation on their agenda. Investing in the improved sustainability of residential properties is good for owners, occupants, and society as a whole.

 

Renovating homes for improved indoor comfort

Around 80 million people in Europe live in homes that suffer from a poor indoor climate. Poor thermal performance and high humidity levels can have long-term health effects on residents, potentially leading to chronic illness like asthma. Combine that with the fact that an estimate one third of American households have struggled to pay their heating and coolings bills do high energy cost and low energy efficiency.

A poor indoor climate can lead to:

  • Increased risk of respiratory diseases caused by a high humidity level.
  • Reduced concentration and impacted learning abilities, due to uncomfortable temperatures.

Improving the passive barriers in residences can help prevent the health effects associated with a poor indoor climate and save society millions of euros on health care costs.

Improving acoustics in homes with a renovation project

Another important concern when renovating buildings is how the project can improve the acoustic environment. In multi-tenancy structures, the noise generated by other occupants or the surrounding environment can influence the health and wellbeing of inhabitants - and in some cases, the noise pollution can lead to stress, sleep disturbance or cardiac diseases. Using solutions that reduce the effects of noise for the renovation project can ensure owners address noise pollution in their properties.

Persistent exposure to noise pollution can cause:

  • Increased blood pressure, hypertension, and sleep disturbance.
  • Reduced concentration and alertness for occupants who did not get adequate rest.
  • Higher levels of irritation and agitation from people who suffer from poor indoor acoustics.

Using passive barriers to absorb acoustics can help eliminate noise from the outside environment and ensure everyone get a good night’s sleep.

Reducing energy costs with residential renovations

One of the most significant benefits that come with a renovation project is reducing energy costs. Using superior insulation products like stone wool can help significantly reduce energy bills, improve property value and alleviate COemissions, making the building both more sustainable, cost-efficient and all-together a better place to live for tenants. In fact, a deep retrofit using stone wool insulation could potentially reduce energy consumption by up to 70 percent.

By improving the insulation in homes, owners can improve the thermal performance and reduce their tenants’ energy bills. It has the added benefit of reducing CO2 emissions, making it a viable strategy for future sustainability. For the building owner, this translates into higher property value and the potential for charging higher rents as compensation for the lowered energy costs, making it a win-win for both owner and tenant.

Why residential renovation should be part of today’s agenda

Putting residential renovation on the agenda now can help local and national governments to restart their economies while also achieving Paris Climate goals. Being one of the most impactful economic recovery measures to create local jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, renovation is a powerful tool at a time where both the climate and our economies are being challenged.

Job creation

The construction industry is comparatively labour-intensive and locally-founded, meaning that any investment here will heavily contribute towards local job creation. In fact, for each $1.2 million invested in renovation 18 local jobs are secured. Scaling that up to a national level, it means that a well-designed incentive scheme could help create thousands of jobs to help restart the local economy.

Making the most of what we have

Energy efficient renovation is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, a medium-depth energy retrofit offers an internal rate of return (IRR) over 30 years of five to six percent. This pay-off is higher than most other investments carrying that same risk, making it a profitable investment for both homeowners and investors alike.

Circularity

The construction industry consumes too many resources and produces too much waste. Twenty five percent of the world’s water and 40 percent of its resources are used by buildings, while creating one-third of all waste and 40 percent of global carbon emissions. By selecting sustainable and circular construction materials, we can save energy and resources, and limit waste. Stone wool is one of these sustainable building materials. Not only is stone one of the most abundant raw materials on the planet, at ROCKWOOL, we have also developed our technology in a way that allows us to use waste from other industries as alternative raw material. Our products can be easily removed when a building is renovated, or demolished and recycled back into new products. In fact, stone wool can be recycled again and again into new stone wool – a truly circular building material.

Greening our building stock

Buildings consume 40 percent of the final energy demand and is responsible for an equal portion of the greenhouse gas emissions. This makes buildings the single largest energy consumer. Comparatively, airplanes produce only around two percent of global CO2 emissions. With renovation holding the potential to reduce energy consumption in buildings by up to 90 percent, it is a potent way to achieve a low carbon society.

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