Economic and environmental analysis of energy renovation packages for European office buildings
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A large share of the buildings in Europe are old and in need of renovation, both in terms of functional repairs and energy efficiency. While many studies have addressed energy renovation of buildings, they rarely combine economic and environmental life cycle analyses, particularly for office buildings. The present paper investigates the economic feasibility and environmental impact of energy renovation packages for European office buildings. The renovation packages, including windows, envelope insulation, heating, cooling and ventilation systems and solar photovoltaics (PV), were evaluated in terms of life cycle cost (LCC) and life cycle assessment (LCA) through dynamic simulation for different European climates. Compared to a purely functional renovation, the studied renovation packages resulted in up to 77% lower energy costs, 19% lower total annualized costs, 79% lower climate change impact, 89% lower non-renewable energy use, 66% lower particulate matter formation and 76% lower freshwater eutrophication impact over a period of 30 years. The lowest total costs and environmental impact, in all of the studied climates, were seen for the buildings with the lowest heating demand. Solar PV panels covering part of the electricity demand could further reduce the environmental impact and, at least in southern Europe, even reduce the total costs.