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Refurbish or rebuild? A review of the existing housing stock in Great Britain

Seibold, M; (2008) Refurbish or rebuild? A review of the existing housing stock in Great Britain. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access


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The existing housing sector is responsible for approximately 30% of the total carbon emissions emitted in the UK. In view of the predicted dangers of climate change, the UK Government is committed to reducing carbon emissions by 60% over 1990 levels by 2050. This means that the existing housing stock must improve energy efficiency to achieve low- carbon performance. This can be achieved by either refurbishing or rebuilding homes that perform below regulatory standards. This dissertation seeks to answer the question of whether it is better to refurbish or rebuild all types of dwellings. The dissertation is divided into two parts. Part A analyses energy demand and energy supply for both refurbished and new dwellings. Chapter A1 uses various models to analyse the cost and energy performance of various dwelling types to establish where savings are best made. The chapter establishes the range of energy-efficiency measures that could be used on refurbished dwellings and models new dwellings by demolishing and rebuilding existing homes to 'best-practice' standards. Part A concludes that refurbished dwellings deliver significant cost and carbon savings regardless of dwelling type. Refurbished buildings perform nearly to the same efficiencies as new build in terms of operational cost and carbon savings. New dwellings on the other hand require significant capital expenditure and result in high embodied energy. A theoretical demonstration of carbon reductions from energy supplies in Chapter A2 illustrates that replacing fossil fuels with renewables for electricity supply can achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions which could further improve the carbon efficiency of dwellings. Part B discusses issues that influence the process of implementing energy saving measures in dwellings. The main findings result in the importance of putting appropriate long-term regulatory and policy frameworks in place to ensure adequate reductions can be made without impacting on heritage and to protect households from fuel poverty. The dissertation concludes that refurbishment is preferred over new build dwellings. Energy and carbon savings can be achieved at a much lower cost, in a shorter period of time and by utilising lower embodied energy. This conclusion is certainly evident when renewables are employed. Albeit, the overall success is largely dependant on the speed and scale of uptake by households, councils and industry, therefore, in order to reduce carbon emissions, the Government needs to sponsor change through education, policy, regulation and funding.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Refurbish or rebuild? A review of the existing housing stock in Great Britain
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest. Third party copyright material has been removed from the ethesis. Images identifying individuals have been redacted or partially redacted to protect their identity.
UCL classification: UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School > Bartlett School of Graduate Studies
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1569734
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