Efficient renovation of existing buildings

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Analysis of the efficient renovation of buildings with improvement of energy efficiency.

When it comes to proposing solutions to improve building renovations existing ones are already conditioned by a series of pre-established design parameters, and there has probably not been a maximum use of these parameters to reduce their demand and optimize the energy efficiency of the home, especially in older ones.

The rehabilitation of old buildings that we intend to improve. Assessing which are the most appropriate possible improvement proposals, through a thorough analysis of the energy and environmental savings that would be achieved with the implementation of each measure as well as an economic study that allows us to assess their viability and amortization.

Proposals for improving a property to rehabilitate, go through increasing the thermal insulation of all the elements of the thermal envelope of the house, reducing the existing thermal bridges trying to eliminate possible pathways or sources where condensation moisture could exist, as well as trying to adapt or apply certain passive systems to the building and implement energy renewable energy sources or efficient facilities, some proposals would be the following:

1.- Thermal insulation in facades and thermal envelope.

Normally in facades to rehabilitate We incorporate insulation panels on the inside, SATE systems on the outside or by projecting thermal insulation in the air chambers.

If the cladding is carried out on the outside, it would be the best option since all thermal bridges are eliminated and the appearance of condensation on the enclosure is avoided, while, if it is done on the inside, we will obtain worse results, although it improves the thermal transmittance of the enclosure can leave areas with thermal bridges and allow condensation to appear.

In the case of houses located under cover, the thermal transmittance of the cover can be improved by incorporating thermal insulation, in the same way if we are in a house on the ground or first floor on an unheated premises or garages, we could incorporate it into the slab or horizontal element of separation with it.

2.- Incorporate double glazing with an air chamber or place special glasses.

In principle, if we find a window with a simple glass, the first option will be to replace it with a climalit, trying to provide those solutions that offer us less thermal transmittance, in principle those with a greater thickness of the air chamber. Other solutions would be:

  • Glasses with a low solar factor, which are more suitable in climatic zones with hotter summers where it is important to reduce the excessive entry of solar radiation that occurs in certain orientations. In areas with colder climates we are not interested in these glasses because in winter they take away solar radiation and considerably increase the demand for heating.
  • Replace the carpentry with others with thermal break, PVC or wood, trying to find those that have the most watertight opening system possible, such as folding or tilt-and-turn.

An article of interest in glazing is that of types of exterior enclosures and glass classification for having more specific information in this section.

3.- Insulation in the envelope with thermal bridge.

The most suitable areas and where the greatest amount of heat can be lost are normally the pillar and facade encounters and especially in Antique buildings since, in many cases the interior face of the pillar is seen without any type of covering, or if there is insulation it may be interrupted against the lateral faces of the pillar, the perimeter of the windows, (the lintels and jambs), as well as roller shutter drawers.

Another weak point is the roofs, which must be applied different factors to study and which are treated in detail from the roof rehabilitation article with tips and manuals of interest.

4.- Improve the ventilation conditions of the house.

So that in this way greater comfort can be achieved without adding heat or cold and thus reducing energy consumption.

5.-Replacement of ACS and air conditioning equipment with more efficient ones, as well as installation of renewable energies.

In this case, since it is an existing building, the largest energy savings will be achieved by improving the efficiency of the facilities, given that there is a greater limitation when it comes to reducing the energy demands of the home or building, also if we manage to cover the energy demand by providing renewable energy. Our goal will be to jointly implement those equipment that are as efficient as possible together with renewable energy to reduce energy consumption as much as possible and improve the rating. Some efficient systems will be the following:

  • Installation of solar thermal energy together with condensing boilers for the production of sanitary hot water.
  • Installation of a natural gas heat pump to meet the demands of DHW, heating and cooling with underfloor heating together with the contribution of solar thermal energy.
  • Installation of biomass boilers, however here we must take into account that, on the one hand, if our home has a high energy demand (example buildings with a large surface area of east-west facades, facing north and important percentages of gaps, etc.) this can penalize the final grade. It is not efficient in the final energy consumption because the losses generated in the transformation and transportation phase are not taken into account and it also has architectural limitations, being highly conditioned by the need for spaces to store fuel.
  • Implementation of other types of renewable energy such as geothermal energy, cogeneration systems or hybrid systems with one that uses conventional energy use together with renewables.

Regarding the facilities, we have a more detailed article where the equipment and air conditioning systems in a house are studied in detail with their in-depth characteristics and functions.

Next we are going to add some concrete cases for improve the energy efficiency of second-hand houses in which the aforementioned improvement measures are applied, extracted from the interesting guide "efficient air conditioning systems and use of renewable energies" published by the Association of Manufacturers of Generators and Heat Emitters for Hot Water (FEGECA), being the following .

How to improve energy efficiency in buildings to renovate

We enclose a series of files in which the specific study points on which action is taken for the benefit of improve the rehabilitation of houses.

Although this section is not discussed, the vegetation in buildings and their facades is a regulatory contribution that benefits the construction as a whole and its application should really be considered.

Grants for rehabilitation

We can prove that there are many grants for the rehabilitation of old houses and the best thing is to consult them from the IDAE itself in the section on aid and financing in the HERE area. Where we will find the sections of:

  • ERDF funds
  • National Energy Efficiency Fund
  • For building renovation (PAREER - CRECE)
  • For energy efficiency in industry
  • For water desalination (FNEE)
  • For the renovation of outdoor lighting installations (FNEE)
  • For renewable energy installations
  • Other IDAE financing formulas
  • Aid in Autonomous Communities
  • Other European Programs

Keep in mind that aid for home renovation They are usually scarce in Spain (Even many times from the European Union they are better) and on the other hand there are always those of the Autonomous Communities and even provincial ones where it is better to consult directly from the local administration or the town hall where theproperties to rehabilitate.

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