Good opportunities for the European Building Stock to save energy

By means of a new method researchers at Chalmers demonstrate that the European building stock could reduce energy consumption by up to 60-70%. ’The techno-economical potentials are considerable, although to make a breakthrough strong policy measures will be required,’ said Érika Mata, energy technology researcher.

The study shows the largest challenge to reducing energy consumption to be stimulating the construction sector to begin to re-build existing settlements.

‘The building stock accounts for about 40 percent of the energy used within the EU. Because turnover is low in the construction sector in the industrialised countries, it is difficult to instigate as efficient rebuilding strategies as possible.

To examine the effects of different energy saving methods, Érika Mata has developed a model, in which the building stock is pictured based on a number of building types, known as archetypes. The archetypes are put together from statistics and provide an approximate description of the building stock within the four largest EU countries (France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom). The model indicates energy requirements, hour by hour, and the total carbon dioxide emissions and renovation costs for buildings within a region or an entire country.

’My method indicates the effect energy saving can have, e.g. rebuilding of facades, replacing windows and installing heat-exchanging systems. In the two case studies made in Sweden and Spain, it was technically possible to reduce energy consumption by 60-70%. Carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced by 40-50% with a cost-effective potential of 20-30%.

‘But because the market potential within the two EU countries studied is, at the moment, only 5-10%, powerful national policies and action programs will be needed to realise the techno-economical potentials,’ said Érika Mata.

Photo: Jan-Olof Yxell
Text: Karin Ljungklint

Method facts
The method has been developed to study energy saving measures in the building stock that reduce energy requirements, increase energy efficiency or meet some energy requirement by means of locally situated renewable energy sources. The method is built of two parts, one a model of a bottom-up perspective (bottom-up building-stock model, ECCABS), the other a data-based method to produce an aggregate description of the building stock by means of archetypical buildings. The method has been applied in two European countries; Spain and Sweden.

The objective has been to develop a method that can be applied to the entire European building stock.

Érika Mata defended her thesis on the 27th of November 2013. The thesis title isModelling Energy, Efficiency and CO2 Mitigation in the European Building Stock. 

Page manager Published: Thu 23 Jan 2014.