An Approach Towards Sustainable Building

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: The motivation for development of energy efficiency and implementation of novel advanced materials applied in buildings can be traced to increasing energy costs in conjunction with an enhanced environmental awareness among people. This doctoral dissertation presents contributions towards sustainable building, where factors such as building technology, energy efficiency in buildings, workers' health issues during construction measures, and certain economic considerations for renovation of buildings have been considered. The research study aims to provide a knowledge base for motivating building owners to renovate buildings based on energy efficiency and improved indoor environment. The initial phase of the research study identifies a detailed description of common drivers, expected in renovation projects by building owners. In the second phase, an information base is identified which may facilitate the bidding processes for decision makers by means of technological, social and economic aspects. The aforementioned information base can also contribute to attentive decisions regarding sustainable renovation and energy saving measures. A strategy was developed within the Renovation Workshop of Riksbyggen, in order to promote energy saving measures concurrent with major renovations in residential buildings. This operational decision support process was applied in a tenant owners' cooperative in Sweden. The objective of this process was to showcase and more importantly to implement energy saving measures, based on knowledge transfer between different parties involved in the renovation project. For the conducted case study, this process was shown to be of great importance when decisions regarding energy saving measures in conjunction with scheduled renovations are being planned. A unique case study was conducted on two of the most commonly used environmental certification programs for buildings in Sweden; Environmental Building (Miljöbyggnad) and GreenBuilding. Following a granted access to a limited database of submitted applications to Sweden Green Building Council, the most common mistakes in these were identified and categorized. This study contributed to further understanding about the level of ability among building consultants, comprehension of environmental certification, and enhancement of the ability to produce high-quality calculations concerning building-related energy usage. In addition, this insight can provide a basis for planning of continuing education of consultants within the field of building technology. For a church building, a study was conducted subsequent to an exchange of an existing electric coil heating system to a hydronic ground source heat pump system. Analyses of the energy demand and energy signature, prior to and after installation were carried out. The replacement of the original heating system with a ground source heat pump system for the church building constitutes a reduced energy consumption level of approximately 66%, at the average outside temperature of -2.30 °C. This study demonstrated that data from a detailed electric bill can be utilized in order to obtain the energy signature of the building and henceforth assess the energy savings. One aspect of the research, examined the decision making process related to sustainable renovation and refurbishment in buildings. The utilized methodology identified three distinct phases in order to instigate an engagement in sustainable renovation, by means of questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. In particular, the attitudes of stakeholders in Sweden, Denmark and Cyprus to sustainable building were studied through three separate case studies. Within the framework of this study, it was identified that building physics and durability are among the most important drivers for energy renovation. The results provided an insight into the renovation process in the aforementioned countries and identified that drivers such as improvement of indoor air quality and elimination of moisture in the building envelope are also of crucial importance. Another aspect of the conducted research highlights workplace accidents occurring within the Swedish construction sector. The purpose of this study was to serve as a useful tool to track the working environments of construction workers in order to reduce health and safety issues within the construction sector. The findings of this research suggest that despite laws, regulations or additional factors that seek to ensure a safe and healthy environment for construction workers, the Swedish construction work force still faces challenges. Moreover, it is identified that construction workers participating in the study call for additional measures to ensure occupational health and safety. Improved knowledge of economic performance and technical results of renovations can contribute to a snowball effect, with more property owners recognizing the value of energy aspects and thus provide an increased level of energy savings.