Phenomena Implied by Sustainable and Green Retrofitting: A Quantitative Approach

Phenomena Implied by Sustainable and Green Retrofitting: A Quantitative Approach

Giani Ionel Gradinaru (The Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania), Alina Paula Moise (Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, Romania) and Raluca Dana Caplescu (The Institute of National Economy, Romania)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9104-7.ch006

Abstract

With all the new technology and scientific progress, the human population is significantly increasing, and the planet will hardly support the overpopulation. The increase of the carbon footprint and natural resources decrease with each human. Society must find solutions to use resources in a smart way, reducing the ecological impact and stopping the cities from sprawling. Instead of extending the manmade environment and using more resources, we can act on what we have, upgrading our buildings by using sustainable and green retrofitting and making them energy efficient and environmentally friendly, while covering our cultural, social and psychological needs. Overpopulation, as well as depopulation/migration, greatly affects architecture. This study aims at finding retrofit solutions and strategies in an attempt to improve the existing urban environment quality and buildings' energy efficiency, provide interior comfort and contribute to aesthetic urban image, as well as doing so in a cheap and efficient way.
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Background

Looking at the vernacular houses it can see that those buildings are the most sustainable. They were made with biodegradable local materials -material that can easily return to their soil and which don’t affect the nature. They were perfectly adapted to their climate and geographical context, with the suitable roof slope, oriented according to the cardinal point which made the interior cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Those strategies that adapt the house to its context and users’ needs without consuming energy are called passive strategies. More than that, it was a biophilic house – a house which was creating a perfect symbiosis between human-made environment and nature without affecting the nature.

Unfortunately, that type of vernacular house is not perfectly suitable for the current society. The new society doesn’t have time to bring firewood from the forest, it doesn't have time to think about the protection of nature, it doesn't have enough local materials; there are millions of companies that produce construction systems and products for buildings; the people are moving from house to house and they want to build cheap and fast; they are dangerous and irresponsible consumers; they are absorbed by technology. It is hard to turn back into a vernacular house, but it can get inspired by its sincerity and its relationship with the natural environment.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Renewable Energy: Energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat.

Carbon Footprint: The amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere trough the life-cycle of a product or as a result of an activity.

Energy Efficiency: The characteristic of a product, process or activity to consume the energy in useful work and not wasted as useless heat. In the building sector represent the goal to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services.

Life-Cycle: The series of changes that a product, process or activity goes through during its existence.

Sustainability: The process of maintaining change in a balanced environment, in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Green Building: A building which is environmentally responsible, throughout its life cycle: design, construction, use, maintenance, renovation and demolition.

Nearly Zero-Energy Building (nZEB): A building that has to lead, in time, to reduced consumption of energy from fossil sources and use renewable (non-fossil) sources of energy.

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