Assessing the Energy Performance and Retrofit Potential of the 1980–1990s’ Residential Building Stock in China’s Jiangsu Province: A Simulation-Based Study

Xi Chen*, Marco Cimillo*, David Chow, Bing Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The building operation sector in China represents 22% of the national energy consumption and 22% of the carbon emission, of which urban residential buildings accounted for 24% in 2019. Such figures for the housing sector are projected to increase sharply in the near future, while China aims to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and reach neutrality before 2060. To reduce the impacts of the urban housing sector and address the energy use and waste generated by large-scale demolition and reconstruction, the central government started promoting the energy retrofit of urban residential buildings, raising such policies to the national strategic level. Jiangsu Province is one of the most urbanised, with a rapid growth in the energy consumption of residential buildings. The Multi-Danyuan and Single-Danyuan Apartment built in 1980–1999 are the most representative residential types in its urban areas. While still adequate functionally, they were designed and built to low energy standards and show significant potential for energy retrofit. Nonetheless, their current performance and energy-saving potential are under-researched, while more detailed and reliable data would be critical to support retrofit design and policy making. This study investigates and characterises the typical use and energy performance of the two building types. Additionally, seven measures and six retrofit scenarios were identified based on the optimal energy reductions and regulations from selected countries. The simulations indicate that, without intervention, the energy consumption of the typical urban residential buildings can reach 122 kWh/m2 under the typical high-energy user scenario. By selecting a set of effective energy-saving measures, the operational energy use for heating and cooling can be reduced by up to 52.4%. Current local standards prove cost-efficient, although less effective in reducing energy use compared to international best practices, indicating potential improvements to the contribution of building retrofit towards achieving the national carbon reduction goals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1260
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2024


  • energy retrofit
  • residential building stock
  • building energy simulation
  • carbon peak
  • carbon neutrality
  • China's hot summer-cold winter zone


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