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Greenhouse gases (GHG) performance of refurbishment projects – Lessons from UK higher education student accommodation case studies

Lou, ECW and Lee, A and Welfle, A (2017) Greenhouse gases (GHG) performance of refurbishment projects – Lessons from UK higher education student accommodation case studies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 154. pp. 309-317. ISSN 0959-6526

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Abstract

The student accommodation sector in now the best-performing asset in the UK and US property markets and this is projected to further accelerate, with building refurbishment of existing student accommodations being the preferred method to satisfy growing demand. However, there are no published research studies on refurbishment projects within the student accommodation sector. Refurbishment is an emergent trend to upgrade existing stock to ensure that buildings meet rising energy efficiency demands. Moreover, it is widely affirmed that greenhouse gases contribute to climate change and notably the built environment is a significant contributor, both through its construction and during its operation and use. This paper demonstrates through a comparative case study approach, how greenhouse gases levels can be effectively measured during refurbishment works. There are multiple metrics used for quantification/assessment of greenhouse gases performance and this paper aims to make well-argued recommendations for their best use. Four student accommodation refurbishment projects are presented to compare and contrast differing emission datasets. The results dictate that project cost and duration cannot alone be used to gauge greenhouse gases emissions; more too, in the instance of student accommodation refurbishment, gross internal floor area and the number of rooms offers a more predictable indicator. It is recommended that refurbishment developers reflect on these recommendations when reporting the primary energy and GHG performance of their refurbishment works. Best practice from this research may be adopted into domestic buildings refurbishment projects.

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