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Energy Efficiency

, Volume 12, Issue 7, pp 1891–1920 | Cite as

Assessing evidence-based single-step and staged deep retrofit towards nearly zero-energy buildings (nZEB) using multi-objective optimisation

  • Sheikh Zuhaib
  • Jamie GogginsEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

There is a dearth of data and evidence in the literature to assist the industry in determining the most appropriate strategies for large-scale deep retrofitting of non-domestic buildings to achieve healthy low-energy buildings. Support to decision-making and enabling deep retrofit of these buildings requires approaches such as long-term renovation strategies and building renovation passports. This paper compares the impact of single-step and staged retrofit approaches to improve the building energy performance of an existing building to a nearly zero-energy building (nZEB) level with improved comfort and optimal life-cycle costs. The novel developed methodological framework is applied to a university building built in 1975 (partially retrofit in 2005) that is expected to be completely retrofitted in 2020. A set of scenarios are analysed for the case study building using a combination of retrofit measures towards achieving the cost-optimal non-dominated solutions (Pareto front) based on multiple-objective optimisation for the decision-maker. The results highlight that a single-step retrofit can achieve a reduction of up to 60% in primary energy consumption and reduction of 38% in discomfort hours. The findings also indicate that nZEB performance with the primary energy consumption in the range of ~ 75–90 kWh m−2 year−1 (with plug loads) can be achieved cost-effectively through single-step deep retrofit for a university building. Results also highlighted the inability to achieve higher energy performance or improved comfort in two stages relative to completing a deep retrofit in a single stage. The results aim to contribute to the existing debate on the economic and environmental feasibility in realising long-term renovation strategies for existing non-domestic buildings, especially university buildings.

Keywords

Nearly zero-energy buildings Deep retrofit Cost-optimality Energy performance Staged retrofits 

Nomenclature

Acronyms

BEC

Building energy communities

CvRMSE

Coefficient of variation of the root mean square error

DCV

Demand control ventilation

EPBD

Energy Performance of Building Directive

EPC

Energy Performance Certificate

GA

Genetic algorithm

HVAC

Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning

IAQ

Indoor air quality

IEQ

Indoor environmental quality

LCC

Life-cycle cost

MOO

Multi-objective optimisation

MV

Mechanical ventilation

MVHR

Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery

NMBE

Normalised mean bias error

NSGA

Non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm

NV

Natural ventilation

nZEB

Nearly zero-energy building

OH&P

Overhead and profit

PV

Photovoltaic

SEAI

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

VAT

Value added tax

Symbols

DH

Percentage of discomfort hours [%]

g

Solar transmittance [−]

IC

Investment cost [€]

LOR

Light output ratio [−]

MR

Maintenance and repair cost [€]

NPV

Net present value [€ m−2]

OE

Operational energy cost [€]

PEC

Primary energy consumption per unit of conditioned area [kWh m−2 year−1]

Re

Replacement cost [€]

SHGC

Solar heat gain coefficient [−]

U

Thermal transmittance [W m−2 K−1]

VT

Visual transmittance [−]

Notes

Funding information

This work is financially supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) (Grant No. 13/CDA/2200).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Civil Engineering, School of Engineering, College of Science and EngineeringNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland
  2. 2.MaREI Centre for Marine, Climate and Energy, Ryan InstituteNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland

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