A Characterisation and Evaluation of Urban Areas from an Energy Efficiency Approach, Using Geographic Information Systems in Combination with Life Cycle Assessment Methodology

A Characterisation and Evaluation of Urban Areas from an Energy Efficiency Approach, Using Geographic Information Systems in Combination with Life Cycle Assessment Methodology

S. García-Pérez J. Sierra-Pérez J. Boschmonart-Rives G. Lladó Morales A. Romero Calix

Department of Urbanism and Planning, Escuela de Ingeniería y Arquitectura, Universidad de Zaragoza – Spain.

Centro Universitario de la Defensa de Zaragoza – Spain.

3Sostenipra (ICTA – IRTA - Inèdit Innovació SL) 2014 SGR 1412. Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Unidad de excelencia «María de Maeztu» (MDM-2015-0552), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) – Spain.

Area Metropolitana de Barcelona (AMB) – Spain

1 February 2017
| Citation



The retrofitting of less energy efficient building stock represents one of the most significant challenges in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Nowadays, the housing sector represents about 40% of the energy consumption in the European Union. In this regard, the level of insulation installed in buildings is directly related to the energy efficiency of the building, and consequently to the urban area. In addition, several studies have shown that a comprehensive perspective of energy efficiency is needed, together with calculating the importance of introducing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. The purpose of this study is to develop a methodology to: first, measure the energy efficiency level of specific urban areas and their buildings using a geospatial model in an integral perspective; and second, the environmental impact caused by the refurbishment of these building façades using a LCA method. On the one hand, according to a bottom-up framework the quantitative and qualitative characterisation of the building stock façade at the urban scale is possible generating a georeferenced spatial data model of buildings using Geographic Information Systems. On the other hand, the environmental impact of the most usual constructive solutions to refurbishment building façades is calculated using the LCA methodology. The results obtained are merged and interpolated to the urban scale. The methodology is tested for the case study of blocks of flats in Barcelona using the open data of building stock from the Spanish Government. Firstly, this methodology provides more information in regard to urban areas as well as calculating their energy efficiency. Secondly, the study measures the renovation impact of the less efficient buildings. Finally, the results provide the basis for supporting decisions on building stock retrofitting for urban scale from a new approach, especially making the selection between various renovation scenarios much clearer.


carbon footprint, façade, geographical information systems, life cycle assessment, retrofitting, Spain, urban scale


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