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Energy-efficient retrofitting of multi-storey residential buildings

Michael C.P. Sing (School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia)
Venus W.C. Chan (Mapletree North Asia Property Management Ltd., Hong Kong, China)
Joseph H.K. Lai (Department of Building Services Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, China)
Jane Matthews (School of Architecture and Built Environment, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia)


ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 1 June 2021

Issue publication date: 26 July 2021




Sustainable retrofitting of aged buildings plays a significant role in reducing energy demands and greenhouse gas emissions. This study aims to assess the performance and effectiveness of energy retrofit measures (ERMs) for an archetype of aged multi-storey residential buildings.


The methodology consists of three parts, namely, a desktop study including the selection of a case-study building and identification of ERM options for the building; development of a computer model to simulate the building’s energy use in the baseline scenario and different scenarios of ERMs; and evaluation of the ERMs based on energy-saving rate.


Among the 13 ERMs tested, lighting-related ERMs were found to be optimal measures while window fin is the least suitable option in terms of energy saving. Based on the research findings, a two-level retrofitting framework was developed for aged multi-storey buildings.

Research limitations/implications

Future studies may take a similar approach of this study to develop retrofitting frameworks for other types of buildings, and further research paper can be extended to study retrofitting for buildings in a district or a region.

Practical implications

The findings of this study can serve as a reference for building owners to select effective ERMs for aged multi-storey buildings, which invariably exist in developed cities.


This study presents a pioneering work where an energy model and a building archetype were used to analyze the energy savings of a variety of ERMs that are applicable to aged multi-storey buildings.



This research work is supported by the New Staff Start-up Fund (No.1032840), University of Newcastle, Australia.


Sing, M.C.P., Chan, V.W.C., Lai, J.H.K. and Matthews, J. (2021), "Energy-efficient retrofitting of multi-storey residential buildings", Facilities, Vol. 39 No. 11/12, pp. 722-736.



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