The Integrated Renovation Process: A Holistic Methodology Towards Nearly Zero Energy Buildings

Nicolas Galiotto

    Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis


    Buildings are one of the largest end users of energy. In the countries of the European Union, the building sector accounts for nearly 40% of the final energy use and represents one of the largest potentials for the reduction of energy use and of greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, today buildings are required to have higher levels of social, environmental and economic performances. While some of the newest buildings are of high energy performance, most of the existing building stock is still of a very poor performance. In order to transform poor performance buildings into high performance buildings, these buildings need to go through deep or extensive energy renovations. In the last years, only an average of 1% of the building stock has gone through minor to moderate renovations in the countries of the European Union. In order to meet the goals for a reduction in primary energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector, this rate needs to increase to around 2,5%. Furthermore, minor and moderate energy renovations need to be replaced by extensive or nearly zero energy renovations. Therefore it is essential to overcome barriers and induce building owners to invest in high performance sustainable renovations.

    The main purpose of the work has been to develop a holistic methodology so as to inspire and guide building owners and their renovation project teams to reach high levels of social, environmental and economic performances. The research approach integrates multiple disciplines including architectural, process, energy and environmental engineering as well as economics, psychology and social sciences. The developed methodology is implementable on a large scale and allows an optimal integration of non-expert decision makers and associated project stakeholders.

    In this thesis, examples of nearly zero energy single-family home renovations are presented. The most relevant existing decision support methods and tools applicable to sustainable renovation processes are reviewed and their applicability to high performance sustainable renovation is discussed. A qualitative and constructivist multiple criteria decision-making analysis method is selected for developing the work further. The method is introduced and applied to the renovation of a multi-residential historic building. Furthermore, a new scheme, the Integrated Renovation Process, is presented. Finally, the methodology is applied to two single-family homes. In practice, such a scheme allowed most informational barriers to sustainable home renovation to be overcome. The homeowners were better integrated and their preferences and immaterial values were better taken into account. They assimilated the multiple benefits resulting from the sustainable renovations and each househould was eventually able to select the most favourable renovation scenario. The process resulted in durable buildings with a better architectural quality, a substantially better indoor environment quality and a higher energy performance. In order to keep the decision making process economically viable and timely, the process still needs to be improved and new tools need to be developed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationAalborg
    PublisherDepartment of Civil Engineering, Aalborg University
    Number of pages158
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    SeriesDCE Thesis


    • Single-family houses
    • Renovations
    • Nearly zero energy renovations
    • Integrated renovation process
    • Sustainable renovation

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