Practices

Advanced and sustainable housing renovation

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At a time when major climate change and the aspiration for sustainable economic and social development while maintaining standards of living have become major issues, the objective of this guide is to consider renovation of housing from an overall standpoint by developing guidelines not just in terms of energy performances but also in terms of comfort, quality of life, environmental impact and resource consumption. The entire guide is richly illustrated with both explanatory diagrams and photographs of examples of construction. Many graphs and tables also complete the written text. The guide provides designers with information and resources needed to renovate both individual and collective housing.

This handbook was drafted in the context of an agreement between the Walloon Region and the Louvain-la-Neuve Catholic University on sustainable, energy efficient renovation of Walloon housing and is mainly intended for architects and architecture students.
The main difficulty encountered in drafting this handbook lies in the authors' decision to make the guide applicable to all Europe, from the northern countries to southern Italy. Generally speaking, the authors have taken account of the characteristics of middle European countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, ... and give details for the northern countries when necessary.
The first chapter deals with the quality of life of inhabitants and three factors that influence it: quality of external and collective areas, interior air quality and acoustic comfort. The second chapter, which is the largest one, concerns reduction of fossil energy consumption. It goes into two intrinsically related themes namely optimization of performances of the housing envelope to increase thermal and visual comfort of the occupant, and optimization of performances of systems and techniques installed in the housing unit. This chapter also goes into the use of renewable energy in systems such as photovoltaic solar energy, thermal solar energy, heat pumps etc.
The third and fourth chapters deal with the problem of water in a housing unit, considering the following themes: reduction of consumption of drinking water, use of rainwater, treatment of rainwater and runoff water on the lot and recycling wastewater. The fifth chapter studies the question of waste, both as concerns the renovation itself and the use of the building. This chapter provides food for thought in terms of waste prevention and management.
The last chapter considers the use of the territory and resources in two data sheets: one on embodied energy consumption associated with the renovation project, the other on the impact of building materials.
Each theme considered in the guide is presented in the form of a data sheet several pages long.

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