Open Access

Proposal for Prioritizing the Retrofitting of Residential Buildings in Energy Poverty Circumstances

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Environmental and Climate Technologies
SPECIAL ISSUE OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE TECHNOLOGIES PART II: The Green Deal Umbrella for Environmental and Climate Technologies


The energy poverty derived from socio-economic imbalances affects mostly households with fewer economic resources, being social housing complexes one of the most vulnerable sectors. The insufficient access to energy and the incapability to maintain dwellings at an adequate temperature can have negative impact on people’s health due to the prolonged exposure to poor hygrothermal conditions. Therefore, the prioritization of building retrofitting actions must be carried out regarding the actual state of the housing and the family economy. This paper proposes the definition of a prioritization map that gave a general knowledge of the energy vulnerability situation of the existing building stock. To this end, the dwelling’s energy performance is analysed, focusing on the correlation among its characteristics and the energy vulnerability of its inhabitants. In this way, dwellings with high energy poverty potential are identified in order to develop different energy retrofitting strategies. By applying this method to 14 case studies of social housing in Bilbao, Spain, it was obtained a prioritization map with six levels of vulnerability that can serve as a tool for public entities to design their future strategies. It has been proven that building compactness and year of construction are important factors with a great impact on the heating demand and final consumption in dwellings. Acknowledging the vulnerability context of the building stock eases the decision-making process and the definition of intervention guidelines, prioritizing those in a situation of greater vulnerability.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, other