Energy Efficiency and Environmental Sustainability of Housing


Ebru Ergöz Karahan
Ozyegin University
Faculty of Architecture and Design
Istanbul, Turkey /

Catalina Turcu
University College London
Bartlett School of the Built Environment
London, UK

Henk Visscher
Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
Delft University of Technology
Delft, The Netherlands

Central themes
The housing sector is responsible for a large share of the total global use of energy and so, it has a significant and negative impact on the environmental. Since energy efficiency and environmental sustainability have become main arenas of debate pursued by governments across the world, the housing sector will have to face to the challenge in terms of planning, design, construction of new housing and renovation and maintenance of the existing stock. Evaluation of the performance of buildings, building materials and services has also come into focus. Today for all actors participating in the housing sector the environmental aspects are getting more attention next to social, cultural, and economic aspects. Thus, the aims of the Working Group are:

  • To analyse how environmental sustainability and energy efficiency is affected in housing, its different phases such as production, renovation, maintenance and to evaluate new concepts and technologies related to it;
  • To evaluate new concepts and technologies related to the concept;
  • To explore different methods, tools, and approaches for environmental sustainability of housing. Furthermore, the effectiveness of policies and regulatory tools to improve the energy performances and reduce the environmental impact;
  • To provide a forum for debates about a linkage between these.

Within this concept, the Working Group’s scope is housing design, production, renovation, maintenance and new building concepts related to sustainability, energy efficiency, building sustainability assessment methods and tools, LCA, LCC, performance assessment, energy behaviour, actual energy use, indoor air quality, regulatory, policies and practices in relation to these issues and theoretical and methodological issues associated with research.

Activities and output in recent years
The Working Group organised its first workshop at the ENHR 2013 Conference in Tarragona, Spain successfully. It attracted some new researchers who had not previously been active in the ENHR and proved an opportunity to present and discuss current and development work.

The Working Group had other successful workshop organisations at the ENHR 2014 Conference in Edinburgh, UK, the ENHR 2015 Conference in Lisboa, Portugal, ENHR 2016 Conference in Belfast, and ENHR 2017 Conference in Tirana, Albania. The papers presented ranged various topics such as energy efficient reconstruction of buildings, occupant behaviour, housing energy retrofitting, modeled and actual energy consumption, co-housing design, and energy reduction.

The papers presented at our ENHR 2019 Conference workshop in Athens (Greece) ranged various topics such as energy efficient reconstruction of buildings, occupant behaviour, housing energy retrofitting, energy poverty, energy performance of residential buildings, co-housing design, and housing design elements adapting to climate.

Future plans and activities
The Working Group plans to be present at the ENHR 2020 Conference in Cyprus.

Policy Implications
Due to climate change and environmental concerns the topics such as energy reduction, energy efficiency and sustainability is in the agenda of the governments. The housing sector contributes high share of carbon emissions within the built environment. The EU formulated high ambitions of energy reductions; policies have been applied however the data shows that renovation progress is limited and the actual energy reduction is less than is expected. Besides, it was seen that there are errors in data collection regarding carbon reductions that can affect the results of the progression. Retrofitting the existing housing stock for improving energy performance is significant in achieving energy reductions. In many countries the owners are to upgrade and renovate the existing buildings according to the policies. This process has an impact on the household budget also gets harder for the historic or cultural valuable buildings.