Renovating the Housing Stock Built Before 1945: Exploring the Relations Between Energy Efficiency, Embodied Energy and Heritage Values

  • Paula Femenias
  • Liane Thuvander
  • Pär JohanssonEmail author
  • Paula Wahlgren
  • Petra Eriksson
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Energy book series (SPE)


Swedish multi-family buildings constructed before 1945 constitute an important part of the national built heritage. However, the majority does not have a formal heritage protection. Part of this building stock has already been renovated, notably through earlier energy saving programmes where additional exterior insulation, new façades and windows were frequently installed with little consideration for the original architecture. Now, 40 years later, these buildings face new renovations. This provides opportunities to improve the energy efficiency, indoor climate and user comfort. At the same time, the original architectural and historical characters lost in previous renovations could be recreated. In this paper, an inter-disciplinary research team illustrates the challenges met in practice to reach a sustainable renovation based on three cases. The case buildings are so-called “Landshövdingehus”, constructed in the 1930s and owned by a public housing company. The relations between building physics, energy efficiency, embodied energy, and the effect on heritage aspects in renovation are studied. The results demonstrate the potential to reach 30% calculated energy efficiency without investing in ventilation systems. When comparing embodied energy to savings in operational energy a short payback time is achieved. However, focusing on the replacement of windows, the cases illustrate difficulties to recreate heritage values at same time as achieving an air-tight and energy efficient construction. In order to improve the results from the heritage point of view, there is a need for quality assurance of the renovation and building permit process.


Multi-family buildings Energy efficiency Embodied energy Heritage values Value conflicts 



This research has been funded by the Swedish Energy Agency within the Programme Save & Preserve, project number 40461-1. We thank Bostads AB Poseidon and Calles Bygg for access to data on the properties and the renovation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Architecture and Civil EngineeringChalmers University of TechnologyGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Art HistoryUppsala UniversityVisbySweden

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