Research Output
Enhancing energy sustainability in buildings by implementing low carbon refrubishments
  The thesis aimed to investigate the feasibility of enhancing a building’s energy sustainability by implementing low carbon refurbishments. The research focused on the low carbon refurbishment of the Energy Technology Centre (ETC) as a case study. The ETC was selected by REGAIN an Interreg programme contributing to the reduction of CO2e emissions through alternative industrial estates management in Europe. As a 1950’s non-domestic building in Scotland, the ETC was selected for refurbishment to reduce its energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions.
The research analysed the impact of the building refurbishment on the ETC’s energy demand for heating in terms of energy, cost and CO2e savings. The research methods establish the U values of the building fabric pre and post refurbishment and a steady state building simulation model was built to calculate the energy demand for heating of the ETC building. The building model was validated against two existing building models by private contractors, Wallace Whittle and TUV NEL. From the model the resulting energy demand reduction, CO2e and cost savings from each refurbishment step were calculated and benchmarked against the CIBSE ECON 19. The refurbishment included the upgrading of the walls, roof, floor, doors, windows and roof lights. Low carbon energy systems such as LED lighting were also installed to reduce the energy demand from lighting.
The findings showed that total reduction in energy demand for heating from the whole refurbishment was 37,213 kWh per annum, which in turn saved £3,751 in energy costs and 16,578 tonnes CO2e per annum. The payback period for the refurbishment as a whole was 60 years. The refurbishment reduced the total heating energy demand, CO2e emissions and energy costs by approximately 25%. The most effective refurbishment measure according to the analysis was the floor refurbishment with a payback period of 6 years, reducing CO2e emissions by 10%. Windows were the least
effective option with a payback period of 416 years and a reduction in CO2e by 0.64%. Switching from fluorescent tube lighting to LED reduced the lighting energy demand, CO2e and energy costs by 75%, with a payback period of 4.6 years. The research highlighted the lack of energy use data for non-domestic buildings and the need for more financial investment to increase refurbishment to address climate change.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    30 June 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    624 Civil engineering

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


McCauley, L. Enhancing energy sustainability in buildings by implementing low carbon refrubishments. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from



Energy sustainability, low carbon building refurbishments, CO2e emissions, energy costs,

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