Smart Homes as a Solution for Sustainable and More Inclusive Retrofitting of Existing Buildings

Smart Homes as a Solution for Sustainable and More Inclusive Retrofitting of Existing Buildings

Doru Alexandru Pleșea, Bogdan Cristian Onete, Ion Daniel Zgură
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9104-7.ch005
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All around the world, taking stock of buildings older than 1970, when the first energy efficiency arose, is an important one. Today, all urban agglomerations confront themselves with environmental problems generated by air pollution, cars, and buildings, vie for the first place as the highest polluters. In the future, cities will become increasingly populated, and as a result these problems will more and more affect the quality of life. A way to prevent this scenario is a gradual transition to smart cities. In this approach, smart houses will become indispensable. In order to maintain unaltered cities' specificity, the only acceptable solution is to retrofit old buildings, especially of those classified as historical monuments or as iconic buildings. By retrofitting these buildings, they could be prepared for integration in future cities.
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At the Paris Climate Conference (Conference Of Parties - COP 21), 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. This agreement sets out a global action plan to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Also, governments agreed to aim to limit the increase to 1,5°C since this would significantly reduce risks and impacts of climate change.

The main cause of climate change is the human activities, especially those that imply burning fossil fuels, cutting down rain forests and farming live-stock. These activities add enormous amounts of greenhouse gases to those naturally occurring in the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect and the global warming. Many of these gases are naturally produced but some of human activities contribute to the increase of their concentrations in the atmosphere.

The most important greenhouse gases directly emitted by humans include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide N2O) and several others. Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased by more than 40% since pre-industrial times being responsible for 64% of man-made warming (European Commission, 2018).

Residential and commercial sector has a contribution of 9.83% to the global carbon dioxide emissions (Table 1). But this value does not include emissions due to electricity consumption for household purposes (heating of dwellings, domestic hot water production etc.) (Ritchie & Roser, 2018)

In the world household electricity use varies within wide limits. For example, the average American or Canadian household in 2010 used about two to three times more than a typical European home and about twenty times more than the typical Nigerian household (Wilson, 2018)

Table 1.
Global carbon dioxide emissions by sector in 2010
SectorGlobal carbon emissions
Millions gigagrams CO2 per yearPercent of total (%)
Residential & commercial3.3809,83
Agriculture, land use & forestry2.6207,61
Other sources0.0470,14

Source: (FAO, 2017)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Air Pollution: is a type of environmental pollution usually caused by harmful substances in the air like carbon, sulphur and nitrogen oxides. These substances with a poisonous effect are waste mainly from human activities.

Buildings’ Management System: is a system that acts like a general supervisor of all buildings in the city, setting the optimum operating parameters for it. The Buildings’ Management System sees the city buildings as a whole and acts accordingly.

Smart City: is an urban area that integrates Internet of Things (IoT) devices, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and information and communication technologies in order to optimize the efficiency of city operations, services and infrastructure use, keeping citizens permanently informed and increasing contact between citizens and government.

Building’s Monitoring System: acts at a local level, setting the best operating parameters for all building systems. The scope of the building monitoring system is to improve the quality of life of its tenants and also to offer them a safer place for living and working.

Intelligent Urban Management System: is a concept that relies mainly on artificial intelligence, telecommunications and information. All these main components work as a whole and are inextricably linked. Intelligent Urban Management System’s role it to supervise all city’s systems and associated infrastructure, optimizing and improving its operation. It is the “brain” of a smart city.

Smart Government: is about using technology to facilitate and support better planning and decision making. It is about improving democratic processes and transforming the ways that public services are delivered. It is a new way of governance relying on information and communication technologies and it is citizen centric, data driven and performance focused.

Internet of Things (IoT): is a concept and a paradigm that consider all surroundings electronic devices as things/objects connected each other through wireless and wired connections and communicating and interacting together over the Internet. A “thing” in the IoT could be every electronic object that can be assigned an IP address and is able to transfer data over a network. Some examples of such things are: sensors, actuators, switches, RFID tags, devices, home appliances and industrial equipment, but also people with a heart monitor implant or animals with a biochip transponder.

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