The Impact of Construction Labour Productivity on the Renovation Wave

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Soren Wandahl
Christina T. Pérez
Hasse H. Neve
Jon Lerche
Steffen Petersen


The European Green Deal's Renovation Wave aims to renovate 35 million energy-inefficient buildings to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by at least 55% by 2030. Historically, efforts to reduce CO2 emissions focused on Operational Energy (OE) of the finished buildings. However, in recent years the Embodied Energy (EE) of the building’s construction process has gained attention because of its essential role in construction renovations projects. In this context, construction efficiency, and more precisely, workers’ efficiency, is a vital catalyst to achieve the European Union (EU) targets. To identify the impact of Construction Labour Productivity (CLP) on the renovation wave an exploratory case study was adopted as a research strategy. Data from four domestic housing renovation projects were gathered. Three specific research goals are outlined. The first is to demonstrate the effect of the adoption of Lean tools and methods to increase CLP. The second is to quantify the correlation between improved productivity and the EE emissions saved during the construction phase. The third goal is to estimate the effect the higher productivity has on OE emissions. The results show that the adoption of several Lean tools and methods has a potential to improve CLP to 45%.  This rate of improvement for the 35 million housing units to be renovated could save 6.9 million tonnes CO2e from EE and 386 million tonnes CO2e from OE. This novelty link between process improvements and reduced energy consumption and emissions can support politicians and infrastructural developers in decision-making for a more sustainable construction industry.

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How to Cite
Wandahl, S., Pérez, C. T., Salling, S., Neve, H. H., Lerche, J., & Petersen, S. (2021). The Impact of Construction Labour Productivity on the Renovation Wave. Construction Economics and Building, 21(3).
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