Energy and economic analysis of environmental upgrading of existing office buildings

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Dinh Manh Nguyen
Grace Ding
Göran Runeson


Over many decades, buildings have been recognised as a significant area contributing to the negative impacts on the environment over their lifecycle, accelerating climate change. In return, climate change also impacts on buildings with extreme heatwaves occurring more frequently and raising the earth’s temperature. The operation phase is the most extended period over a building’s lifespan. In this period, office buildings consume most energy and emit the highest amount of greenhouse gas pollution into the environment. Building upgrading to improve energy efficiency seems to be the best way to cut pollution as the existing building stock is massive. The paper presents an economic analysis of energy efficiency upgrade of buildings with a focus of office buildings. The paper identifies upgrading activities that are commonly undertaken to upgrade energy efficiency of office buildings and a case study of three office buildings in Sydney, Australia has been used to analyse the results. The upgrading activities can improve the energy performance of the case study buildings from 3 stars to 5 stars NABERS energy rating in compliance with the mandatory requirement in the Australian government’s energy policy. With the potential increase in energy price, energy efficiency upgrading will become more affordable, but currently, most of them, except solar panels and motion sensors show a negative return and would not be undertaken if they did not also contribute to higher rental income and an increased life span of the building. The upgrading discussed in the paper represent a potentially attractive alternative to demolition and building anew.

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How to Cite
Nguyen , D. M., Ding, G., & Runeson, G. (2020). Energy and economic analysis of environmental upgrading of existing office buildings. Construction Economics and Building, 20(4).
Articles (Peer reviewed)