Energy Rehabilitation of Social Housing in Vulnerable Areas. Case study: a 1950s Building in a Medium-sized Mediterranean City

Ruá María José, Huedo Patricia, Cabeza Manuel, Saez Beatriz, Civera Vicente

In the urban context, buildings play a key role as they are energy consumers. In well-established cities with a high percentage of aged building stock, the focus should lie on sensitive urban areas where the weakest population sectors and the worst physico-economic conditions are usually encountered. In this work, the energy refurbishment of social housing is proposed. A block of municipally owned buildings is selected as a case study to consider that public buildings play an exemplary role according to Directive 2012/27/EU. The group is formed by 12 buildings, which account for 120 dwellings.

This study is grounded on two levels. First the urban level. The building is located in a prioritised urban Area of Rehabilitation, Renovation and Urban Regeneration (ARRU), according to the new local Land Plan. This area presents multidimensional vulnerability and considers urban, building, socio-demographic and socio-economic features. Second, the building presents very low energy performance. It was built in 1959 when a high demand of dwellings and the economic resources then available led to low-quality buildings that are far from meeting today’s standards.

Some proposals are made, having in mind the specific features of the urban context. The energy refurbishment of the building is proposed, selecting the optimal solution, considering technical, environmental and economic criteria. The energy performance simulation shows a remarkable improvement of the energy performance, resulting in an improvement of the thermal comfort of the dwellers. Besides, a reduction in the energy consumption is reached, which would reduce the energy bills and, on the other hand, a reduction of the carbon emissions to the atmosphere, contributing to a better environment quality. Having in mind that the building is intended for social housing, energy poverty situations could be avoided, as dwellings are inhabited by low-income dwellers.


Rehabilitation; Social Housing; Energy Performance; Vulnerability; Urban Areas


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