HPC Magazine Foreword: The renovation challenge

For increased sustainability in the built environment, deep renovation is often needed. But this offers a great challenge, according to work carried out in HPT Annex 46.

A hindering factor seems to be the ownership structure, where a majority of the dwellings in Europe are privately owned. When this is the case, decisions on renovations, including the energy system, are often taken without consulting expertise such as architects, engineers or planners. Also, low-carbon approaches tend not to be used. When deep renovation does occur, the owner is almost always a housing corporation, commercial landlord or local municipality.

Deep renovation often means improved insulation, and thus less need for space heating. Thus, domestic hot water will be a more decisive factor in the energy system. Given the total energy loss of collective systems, the best solution is to install individual systems generating hot water where and when needed. However, as the up-front cost for a heat pump is often higher than for the traditional option, both installers and consumers may be sceptical. In such cases, a first step could be a hybrid heat pump, where the heat pump technology is combined with a gas boiler.

A conclusion of HPT Annex 46 is that mandatory legal measurements can be an important policy tool to enlarge the market share of heat pump water heaters. But such policy support is still rare and not very consistent across Europe, North America and Asia. In this issue, some examples are described, showing some of the possibilities.

Onno Kleefkens, Netherlands (Phetradico Communication & Publishing)

The text has been shortened by the HPC team
Read the full foreword in the Magazine.