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Retrofitting with prefabricated modules. Stakeholders' views and needs


This abstract is based on work carried out in RetroKit, Toolboxes for systemic
retrofitting within the FP7 programme. Multi-family apartment buildings have the
highest energy demand in Europe, consuming 68% of the total final energy use in
buildings in Europe, 2009 . Most of them were built between 1945 and 1980 and are
now ready for retrofitting and have a huge energy-saving potential. The apartment
buildings are located all around Europe but share many common features;
architecture, structure and materials. This makes them suitable for retrofitting with
prefabricated modules which allow for cost efficient mass production. In addition
building service technologies can be integrated in the modules and the residents can
stay in their homes during retrofitting. To make sure that good retrofitting concepts
and solutions are developed, knowledge on the needs and views of stakeholders
involved in retrofitting is needed. The main research questions were: What are the
architectural requirements for prefabricated solutions? What are the success criteria
for prefabricated solutions from decision makers' point of view? What characterizes
good retrofitting design? The intention was to reach a verifiable outcome in relation
to the research questions above. Quantitative research methodology in the form of a
questionnaire has been used to provide data about the use of and expectations for
retrofitting with prefabricated modules in 11 European countries among authorities,
architects, consultants, building owners, contractors and prefab manufacturers. Due
to the exploratory nature of the research the intention has not been to test a
hypothesis but to provide indicators with which to understand societal trends
associated with deep retrofitting. A quantitative approach was chosen because the
research project aspires to provide a statistical understanding of phenomena
connected to retrofitting and the relationships between them. The findings show that
the most important requirements a prefabricated retrofit solution has to offer to be an
attractive alternative are; energy performance, adaptability to the building, efficient
construction, flexibility in design, and adaptability to the resident's needs. The three
most referenced characteristics of good retrofitting design in the questionnaire were
energy efficiency, cost and aesthetics. The greatest pitfalls associated with
prefabrication were limited architectural freedom with poor architecture as a result
and high costs


Academic chapter/article/Conference paper





  • SINTEF Community / Architecture, Materials and Structures






World Sustainable Building 2014 Conference, 28-30 Oct., Barcelona



View this publication at Cristin