Guest Editors: Faye Wade (University of Edinburgh) and Henk Visscher (TU Delft)
Deadline for abstract submission: 13 July 2020
are the capabilities and capacities for delivering retrofit at scale? This special issue
explores the accelerated delivery of domestic energy retrofitting at different
scales – national, municipal, neighbourhood and individual sites. It will
interrogate governance, economic / business, organisational, social and
technical aspects and their interactions: existing planning capabilities;
available building stock data and what more is needed; rural and urban retrofit
strategies; the roles, capabilities and capacities of existing and new actors /
enterprises in delivering retrofit (e.g. local authorities, urban planners,
construction professionals, contractors and subcontractors); how can renovation
elements be produced in an industrialised way to increase capacity and reduce
costs; the economic, social, political, legislative, regulatory aspects of delivery
models; what owners or inhabitants require; forms of user engagement; what
future proofing is appropriate; what requirements and guarantees will ensure
performance in use. There will be insights across different scales and
geographical contexts as well as top-down vs bottom-up models. Distinctions
& complementarities will be drawn for policies and delivery strategies for
different scales, stakeholders, inhabitants and disciplines.
Limiting global temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial
levels means rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. This entails
significant decarbonization of the energy supply and reduction in energy demand
within a period of 30 years or less. Globally, the buildings sector accounted
for approximately 28% of total energy-related CO2 emissions. A 65% expansion
in building floor area has increased emissions by more than 25% since 2000 (IEA,
A major contribution to
achieving emissions reductions must come from retrofitting the existing domestic
(e.g. residential and mixed-use partly residential) building stock to radically
reduce the use of non-renewable energy for heat and power (CCC, 2019). Retrofitting is “the introduction of new materials, products and
equipment into an existing building with the aim of reducing the use of energy”
(Baeli, 2013: 17). This can include improvements to the building fabric and deployment
of more efficient and low carbon energy sources. The rate of
retrofitting the existing stock needs to double to achieve at least a 30-50%
energy intensity improvement to 2050 (IEA, 2019b).
will only be achieved through aligning governance, economic, social and
technical systems. Governance provides the conditions for mass retrofit. What national policies are needed to ensure appropriate conditions and
capabilities? What must regions and cities do to define what the specific local
energy infrastructures will be? These will determine locally appropriate
renovation concepts. Financial measures are also important: costs, taxes,
incentives for energy sources, renovation services, etc. Existing instruments (e.g. energy performance certificates / labels,
how they are used and their actual outcomes) require assessment for their
impact and efficacy. What basket of measures is needed
to accelerate retrofit and reduce energy demand?
Two thirds of countries currently lack building
energy codes. Nations are beginning to
respond to the IEA’s recommendation to adopt mandatory performance requirements
which include the existing building stock. How can developing countries’ policies, incentives, standards and
retrofit strategies address their local context and existing building stock?
A ‘house as a system’ approach (Janda & Killip, 2010) recognises the
building envelope as a single thermal unit (Clarke et
al., 2017). To date, efforts have focused on social
housing, where standardization and public sector / housing association ownership
makes activity at scale more achievable. In private homes and mixed-use
buildings, policy makers have relied on an ad hoc approach requiring
interaction among different occupational groups, and taking place over a long timescale
(Fawcett & Topouzi, 2019). This is often delivered by micro enterprises,
who have a significant influence on the retrofitting process (Owen,
et al., 2014; Maby & Owen, 2015; Wade et al., 2017). Retrofit
schemes customised to local circumstances can also be more successful than
nation-wide strategies (Gillich, et al., 2018),
and it has been suggested that national schemes need to provide room for
facilitating municipal or neighbourhood action (Gram-Hanssen
et al., 2018). There is ample evidence that local actors play a crucial role
in the delivery of wide-scale retrofitting activities (Castán Broto, 2012; Bartiaux et al., 2014; Dowling et
al., 2014; Hoicka et al., 2014; Caputo and Pasetti, 2017). However, different localities may be
inconsistent in their application of retrofitting strategies, and serious
consideration is needed on how retrofits will be delivered in different
contexts. To ensure successful outcomes, retrofitting
must also embrace social, cultural and material values and practices. This involves interdependent activities (planning, operation,
maintenance, occupant engagement, etc.) to prevent unintended consequences e.g.
loss of cultural value, performance gaps, increased material flows, etc.
(Kohler & Hassler, 2012; Shrubsole et al., 2014).
Papers in this
special issue will address key questions and offer solutions in these areas:
national and city level goals into clear targets for retrofit of the domestic
- The governance
and regulation of retrofit: enabling legislation, changes to existing
legislation / regulation, enforcement, incentives, aspects of ownership and
and coordination perspectives: what new roles for planners, building control
and assessment professions in identifying and cataloguing stock, facilitating
and monitoring progress?
analysis of municipal actions / programmes on building retrofits and their
vs bottom-up approaches; incentives for participating in mass retrofit
inclusion of embodied energy / carbon in the total calculation
skills and certification of schemes for construction professionals and
capabilities and capacities do firms (SMEs and micro-enterprises) require to
chains for retrofit: coordination and management of domestic retrofit at scale
and construction management: the potential for reducing unit cost of retrofit
and increasing quality
business case (e.g. financial model) for retrofit and new business models for
both private and public sectors
performance-related outcomes, consumer protection, service-related pricing, performance
vs individual retrofit for housing: technologies for retrofit at scale (e.g.
Energiesprong, off-site, incremental, etc)
engagement/ persuasion: allocation of responsibility; appropriate forms of
engagement and empowerment; provision of reliable, independent information for
tenants and homeowners
behaviours: how retrofit affects demand; load shifting; new definitions of
thermal adequacy, space shrinkage
demand reduction with changing energy supply: reducing peak demand, increasing
flexibility, and ‘fair usage’
development of appropriate standards and retrofit processes for the particular
contexts of developing countries
Briefing Note for Contributors
You are invited to submit an abstract for this
special issue. Please send a 500 word (maximum) abstract defining the
scope, methods and results to editor Richard Lorch firstname.lastname@example.org by 13 July 2020. Your
submission must include:
- the author’s and all co-author’s names, affiliations and contact details
- the question(s) in this Call for Papers that the abstract and intended
- the abstract (300 – 500 words maximum)
Abstracts will be reviewed by the editors to ensure
a varied, yet integrated selection of papers around the topic. Authors of
accepted abstracts will be invited to submit a full paper (6000-7500 words),
which undergoes a double-blind review process.
for abstract submission: 13 July 2020
Full papers due: 11 January 2021
Referees’ comments 22 March 2021
Final version due 10 May 2021
Publication July 2021
Buildings & Cities
Buildings & Cities is an international, open access, double-blind
peer-reviewed research journal. Its focus is the interactions between
buildings, neighbourhoods and cities by understanding their supporting social,
economic and environmental systems. More information can be found online: www.buildingsandcities.org
Buildings & Cities is an open access journal and has an article
processing charge (APC) of £950. If you do not have institutional support,
please contact the editor to discuss. We endeavour to assist those without
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