Retrofitting solid wall buildings: energy and carbon costs and savings

Moncaster, Alice; Soulti, Eleni; Mubarak, Ghada and Symons, Katie (2013). Retrofitting solid wall buildings: energy and carbon costs and savings. In: Proceedings of SB13 Graz : Construction Products and Technologies (Höfler, Karl; Maydl, Peter and Passer, Alexander eds.), Verlag der Technischen Universitaet Graz, Graz, pp. 95–101.



Regulations and technological advances over the last decade have led to improved energy efficiency for new buildings. However much of the existing European building stock has poorly insulated fabric leading to low energy efficiency and high carbon emissions. In the UK we have a particular problem with homes built prior to 1930 with un-insulated solid walls. This paper briefly reviews the multiple barriers to retrofitting solid wall insulation in the UK. It then quantifies the whole life (operational and embodied) carbon of a solid-walled dwelling, first in its original state and then retrofitted with one of four solid wall insulation products. The results show that all of the products modelled repay their cradle to grave embodied energy and carbon costs within 13 months of installation through the operational savings achieved. The authors conclude that retrofitting with solid wall insulation can result in considerable whole life carbon reductions. While the barriers remain considerable, greater understanding of the issues will help contractors, home owners and developers to make informed design choices.

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