Embodied and operating energy assessment of existing buildings – Demolish or rebuild

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Journal Article
Energy, 2019, 182 pp. 623 - 631
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© 2019 Addressing climate change and energy efficiency of buildings challenge governments. Research studies to improve the efficiency of new buildings are many, but the potential of existing buildings to alleviate environmental problems is yet to be recognised. The economic development in China triggered the rapid growth of population and urbanisation. The government has experienced severe environmental problems due, among other things, to an increasing demand for housing. The demand for housing and environmental degradation have compelled the government to demolish historic houses for the construction of more efficient residential buildings. Nevertheless, the consumption of natural resources is essential considerations for redevelopment. The research has selected a south China town to conduct multiple case studies to analyse and compare the energy efficiency of historic and modern dwellings. The research reveals that modern building overall outperforms the historic houses in energy consumption for heating but consumes much higher energy for cooling over a 12-month period. However, the historic houses outperform the modern building in the embodied energy and carbon analysis. If these historic houses are to be replaced with energy efficient buildings, it will take approximately 18–41 years to recover the embodied energy invested in the materials for the new buildings.
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