PROF. MANUELA ALMEIDA
Manuela Almeida is Associate Professor at the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Minho, Portugal, and coordinates the research group on Sustainable Construction. Her main research fields are Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Development. Prof. Manuela Almeida coordinates and participates on several national and international research projects on buildings thermal behavior, nZEB, conservation and rehabilitation of buildings and sustainable construction.
"Relevance of the embodied energy on building retrofit assessment"
Many regulations and initiatives to promote the reduction of the energy consumption and carbon emissions have been implemented in the building sector. However, they are mostly targeted to new buildings. In order to have an effective impact and reach the goals that are being established, it is necessary to act in new but especially in the existing buildings, which correspond to the majority of the European building stock. Building renovation improves the buildings’ energy performance, reducing the carbon emissions related to the operation of the building
but the renovation involves adding new materials and technical systems. The production process of these new materials uses energy (embodied energy) and releases carbon emissions. In this sense, after a certain level of energy efficiency, the materials added to the building may have more embodied energy than the energy savings they will lead to. To evaluate the relevance of the embodied energy in building renovation, a methodological framework developed under the IEA EBC project Annex 56 to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of building renovation solutions
which include a life-cycle impact assessment is presented. Using a particular case study, different renovation solutions, with and without considering the embodied energy, are compared. The results show that the embodied energy do not have a major impact on the evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of the renovation solutions, but as the renovation approach gets closer to zero energy level, its relevance increases.