Energy Efficiency, Key, Keyboard, Button

The global rate of urbanisation and economic growth means that the primary demand for energy will likely double during this century.

Using modern solutions such as stone wool can help reduce the consumption of existing, energy-inefficient buildings with a deep energy retrofit. Although cities take up only two percent of the land surface, they generate more than 70 percent of emissions and consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy. Establishing an in-depth energy retrofit program in a city is a worthwhile solution to reduce direct energy demand, cut down emissions, and provide a healthier built environment for people.

What is a deep energy retrofit?

The ageing building stock of the developed world predominantly dates back to before any energy-efficient legislation or building codes came into effect. These structures have poor thermal performance, inefficient heating and cooling systems, and use carbon-based energy sources. This means that these buildings essentially waste billions of kWh each year leading to billions of tonnes of CO2 emissions. The energy saving potential from retrofitting these buildings can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 20-55 percent from current levels, and is absolutely necessary to achieve the 2050 carbon neutrality goals that city governments around the world are striving towards.

A deep energy retrofit is an in-depth renovation of a building with focus on reducing the energy consumption as much as possible. This requires taking a holistic approach to design out the inefficiencies of buildings, focusing on areas like:

  • Retrofitting the building envelope with insulation to reduce the energy needed for heating and cooling.
  • Upgrading HVAC and water heating systems with modern, low consumption alternatives and insulating these systems for higher energy efficiency.
  • Minimising the energy use in all building systems including lighting, heating, and ventilation.

The role that city policymakers will have to play in the drive to make cities more energy-efficient and achieve a carbon-neutral future is vital. By acting at the local level, every city has the potential to achieve its carbon goals and help fight the effects of climate change. Projects throughout Europe show that innovation throughout the construction value chain offers great opportunities to reduce the cost and increase the pace of deep energy renovation, all while boosting economic growth, creating jobs and reducing emissions. In the Netherlands, the Energiesprong project has managed to reduce the cost of a net zero energy renovation of a terraced house from $150,000 in 2010 to $77,000 – and this significant reduction the result of economy of scale, 3D-technologies and pre-fabricated materials.

Accelerating deep energy retrofits will depend on financial incentives at both the national and local level. Establishing renovation programs for owners, property investors, and occupants to recover some or all of the costs of the project will speed up the adoption and maximise the savings available over the medium- and long-term. Multiple countries and cities are already following this approach.

In Canada, The Trudeau government has committed $2B to large-scale building retrofits that drive energy efficiency and sustainable communities.

In the United States, President-elect Joe Biden includes in his clean energy platform upgrading 4 million buildings and weatherizing 2 million home over 4 years. His plan will also include a direct-cash rebate program to spur efficiency upgrades.

Accelerating energy reduction projects using grants

In the EU they also recognises the potential that retrofitting buildings for improved energy efficiency can bring, both to the environment and stimulating the economy. The updated European Green Deal calls for a renovation wave across the union, aiming to .

At the local levels, cities like Copenhagen, Milan, London, New York City, and San Francisco use tax credits and low or zero-interest finance options as incentives. To stay below the 1.5°C goal set in the Paris climate agreement, the rate of renovation needs to double from current levels. Using modern technologies and innovative construction techniques make deep energy retrofit costs affordable and a viable strategy for future sustainability and resilience. It has the added benefit of repaying for the project due to the lower energy cost over the lifetime of the building.

 

Renovation case studies

We’ve collected 10 of our most interesting renovation case studies from all over the world to inspire your next renovation project.

Whether it’s upgrading a multiunit house while protecting its historical façade or constructing a lightweight yet study apartment on the roof of a warehouse, we’ve got you covered!

Tours Bièvre in Antony, France cladded with Rockpanel Colours and Woods facade cladding

Explore a world of renovation