Achieving Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings

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This course will provide the student with basic knowledge regarding energy use in existing buildings and how surveys may be performed to attain the information required to achieve energy efficient buildings.

The energy use in the build environment accounts for about 36 % of the total energy demand in Sweden and about 15 % of total carbon dioxide emissions.

Most of the buildings that will be used in the next 20 years are already built and their energy performance are often much lower than the requirements of the modern building codes. To achieve the environmental goals the energy performance of these existing buildings needs to be increased. Therefore it is important to identify the energy conservation possibilities and evaluate their potentials.

Increasing energy prices and political decisions increases the real estate owner’s incentive to reduce the energy use in their buildings. Many of the buildings erected in Sweden during the 60´s and 70’s in the so called “Miljonprogrammet” are in urgent need of renovation, this provides an opportunity to increase the energy performance of these buildings. Identifying measures and combinations of measures that may be implemented when buildings are to be renovated are discussed in the present course. 

Course main content

The course will give a fundamental understanding on how energy technology can be applied to reduce energy demand of buildings. Thermodynamics, heat transfer, thermal indoor climate, measurement technology, building simulation software and problem solving will be applied in surveys to find the possibilities to increase the energy performance of buildings.

The course is divided in two parts; one theoretical part that consist of a series of lectures and one practical part where the student will work with surveys of real energy systems in buildings. The course focuses on typical buildings in the Swedish building stock, but the knowledge attained in this course can be adapted to any building and energy system in the world.  

Learning outcomes

This course will discuss how energy is used in buildings today and how energy technology can be used to increase energy performance of existing buildings. The course will focus on how the energy use may be reduced by collecting and interpret information of the energy systems in buildings.  

After the course the student should be able to

  • Make a plan to audit  energy systems in buildings according to the degree of detail needed
  • Perform the planned energy audit
  • Measure heat dissipation of ventilation and radiator heating systems
  • Measure electric power of pumps, fans and other typical equipment
  • Estimate the UA-Value of typical building elements
  • Account for reference values of energy performance in different building types
  • Estimate the energy use of typical air conditioning applications
  • Calculate a buildings energy signature and normalize energy use
  • Interpret measurements on heating systems and identify defects 
  • Interpret measurements on electric systems and identify defects 
  • Distribute the measured energy use between the different sub systems
  • Describe how the different energy systems in a building interacts
  • Describe how the control systems interact with the energy systems in buildings
  • Identify typical errors in complex energy systems
  • Identify measures that results in a reduced energy demand
  • Evaluate measures and combination of measures from an technical perspective
  • Evaluate measures and combination of measures from an economical perspective


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