Renovating the Housing Stock Built Before 1945: Exploring the Relations Between Energy Efficiency, Embodied Energy and Heritage Values
Paper in proceeding, 2018

Swedish multi-family buildings constructed before 1945 constitutes an important part of the national built heritage. However, the majority does not have a formal heritage protection. Part of this building stock has already been renovated, notably through earlier energy saving programmes where additional exterior insulation, new façades and windows were frequently installed with little consideration for the original architecture. Now, 40 years later, these buildings face new renovations. This provides opportunities to improve the energy efficiency, indoor climate and user comfort. At the same time, the original architectural and historical characters lost in previous renovations could be recreated. In this paper, an inter-disciplinary research team illustrates the challenges met in practice to reach a sustainable renovation based on three cases. The case buildings are so-called "Landshövdingehus”, constructed in the 1930s and owned by a public housing company. The relations between building physics, energy efficiency, embodied energy, and the effect on heritage aspects in renovation are studied. The results demonstrate the potential to reach 30% calculated energy efficiency without investing in ventilation systems. When comparing embodied energy to savings in operational energy a short payback time is achieved. However, focusing on the replacement of windows, the cases illustrate difficulties to recreate heritage values at same time as achieving an air-tight and energy efficient construction. In order to improve the results from a heritage point of view, there is a need for quality assurance of the renovation and building permit process.

Value conflicts

Embodied energy

Multi-family buildings

Heritage values

Energy efficiency


Paula Femenias

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Design

Liane Thuvander

Research - Architectural Theory and Method

Pär Johansson

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Technology

Paula Wahlgren

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Technology

Petra Eriksson

Uppsala University

Springer Proceedings in Energy: Cold Climate HVAC 2018, Kiruna, Sweden, 12-15 March, 2018

978-3-030-00661-7 (ISBN)

Cold Climate HVAC 2018
Kiruna, Sweden,

Re-renovation: Possibilities for increased energy efficiency and the re-creation of cultural historical values

Swedish Energy Agency (40461-1), 2015-11-01 -- 2018-12-31.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)


Subject Categories

Construction Management

Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology

Building Technologies



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