Energy-led, non-domestic building refurbishment : decision support for a whole-building approach to improvement of operational performance
Strachan, Megan E.
MetadataShow full item record
Pressure is growing upon non-domestic building owners and occupiers to measure and improve the energy performance, and associated carbon emission levels, of the portfolio in which they operate. In line with this, the need for energy-led refurbishment of existing buildings is increasingly evident, with approximately 60% of the current building stock expected to still exist in 2050 and less than 1% being replaced annually. However, energy-led refurbishment of existing non-domestic property faces a number of barriers, including an ill-defined decision-making process and a lack of low carbon skills required to guide building owners in this complex transition. This thesis examines first, the need for a re-alignment of disciplines within the construction industry to fulfil the growing requirement for low carbon skills, specific to energy-led refurbishment. A comprehensive desk study was undertaken, evaluating the competencies of the established construction industry professions, as defined by their governing bodies. This was supported by structured interviews with users of large, nondomestic property and industry professionals to establish whether a need existed and how they proposed it be fulfilled. A deficiency in expertise was identified, and from this a competency specification for professionals leading energy-led refurbishment in existing, non-domestic property has been developed. Second, this thesis explores the different forms of automated decision support within the construction sector, identifying opportunities for a structured decision-making approach to energy-led refurbishment. An optimum decision support tool (DST) process was proposed, consisting of seven steps from assessment of the existing building’s state through to continuous evaluation and improvement of the refurbished building. A key module within this process was developed in detail to address the complex multiple attribute decision making (MADM) approach required during selection of energy performance improvement measure (EPIM). A set of assessment criteria, addressing a variety of performance characteristics, was designed using an online Delphi survey with a select group of ‘energy in buildings’ experts. The criteria range from short term impact (EPIM installation) to long term impact (EPIM operation and disposal) upon the existing property’s performance. Subsequent weighting of the assessment criteria in terms of their relative importance was undertaken using the same expert group through a paired comparison survey methodology. This revealed the relative importance of each criterion, consequently aiding prioritisation of EPIMs within the optimum DST and supporting decision-making.