Façade refurbishment of existing office buildings: Do conventional energy-saving interventions always work?

Francesco Pomponi, Eric R.P. Farr, Poorang Piroozfar*, Jonathan R. Gates

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Offices account for 40% of energy use in construction sector. Office building stock is already under-performing and dilapidating at a fast pace. With the current rate of replacing old building stock in the UK, it is expected that at least 60% of what was built before 1985 still exists in 2050. Therefore, refurbishment, with an aim to improve performance of buildings, seems to remain as the most feasible and arguably most cost efficient way forward. Precedent studies in this area are not few and far between. However, some recommendations and interventions seems to have been taken for granted and thought to be globally applicable almost everywhere. This study chooses a recently refurbished office building to challenge this common belief. It was shown that, from the carbon point of view, benefits as a result of interventions were marginal. It was found that a full pre-refurbishment survey, measures aimed at reducing the performance gap between intended and actual figures, and study of occupancy patterns would probably help in this respect. The study results also showed that study of contextual conditions i.e. careful considerations with regards to building orientation, topography, site constraints, and exposure to solar gains will help achieve better results. Finally it was envisaged that better user engagement, communication and using few other measures to enhance user satisfaction will help guarantee some other aspects pertaining to performance than its mere energy consumption or carbon footprint.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-143
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Building energy simulation
  • Building performance
  • Façade refurbishment
  • Office buildings
  • Office refurbishment
  • Sustainable retrofit

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