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Evaluating retrofit options in a historical city center: Relevance of bio-based insulation and the need to consider complex urban form in decision-making

Claude, S; Ginestet, S; Bonhomme, M; Taylor, JG; Marincioni, V; Korolija, I; Altamirano, H; (2019) Evaluating retrofit options in a historical city center: Relevance of bio-based insulation and the need to consider complex urban form in decision-making. Energy and Buildings , 182 pp. 196-204. 10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.10.026. Green open access

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Abstract

Historical dwellings make up a significant fraction of the French building stock and require substantial retrofitting to reduce their energy consumption and improve their thermal comfort. In the city center of Cahors, France, the old medieval dwellings are considered as valuable cultural heritage and internal insulation is often the only insulation technique that can be used when the architectural value of the exterior façade is to be preserved. However, internal insulation may have an impact upon the hygrothermal performance of the wall, leading to lowered drying capacity, with possible interstitial condensation and mold growth. Hygrothermal models may be used to assess the risk of failure, but the accuracy of the results depends on how reliable the input data is, including external boundary conditions, which may vary significantly in dense medieval cities such as Cahors. In this study, a Geographical Information System model of Cahors is used to develop EnergyPlus models of individual dwellings. The boundary conditions output by these models are, in turn, used to model the hygrothermal performance of façades with different internal insulations, using the hygrothermal tool Delphin. The Delphin outputs are then analyzed with the VTT model, a mold growth assessment model. Results highlight a quantitative correlation between some urban morphology characteristics and the hygrothermal performance of refurbished walls, with some configurations raising the risk of damage patterns. We find that bio-based insulation presents a better hygrothermal performance than mineral wool in most of the configurations.

Type: Article
Title: Evaluating retrofit options in a historical city center: Relevance of bio-based insulation and the need to consider complex urban form in decision-making
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.10.026
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.10.026
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10059951
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