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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Energy performance assessment for existing multi unit residential buildings Gamalath, Isuru Madhushan


Climate change is a major challenge in today’s world. Energy use is directly correlated to greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in climate change. As the residential sector is a major energy consumer, improving the energy performance of the residential building stock is imperative in mitigating this issue. Evaluation of building energy performance, life cycle impacts, and economic burdens of building energy use can facilitate improved decision making in operations of existing building stock. Hence, as the primary objective of this study, a life cycle thinking-based energy assessment tool was developed for multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs). A comprehensive review of popular building energy rating systems revealed the need to incorporate life cycle thinking in evaluating building energy performance. Further, based on a comprehensive review it was identified that current rating systems do not consider the uncertainty and vagueness associated with data used for performance assessments. Most of the existing energy rating systems focus only on energy consumption when assigning the rating. Energy rating systems rarely consider the factors affecting energy use and the impacts of energy use in assigning their score/rating for the building. An assessment tool with indicators representing the impacts of energy use and factors affecting operational energy use of buildings was developed to address the identified issues. A questionnaire survey was conducted to obtain expert views on the proposed assessment tool from professionals associated with MURBs. MURB owners, managers, designers, engineers, researchers, and government and other external stakeholders were the target audience of this survey. Feedback from this survey was used to refine the proposed tool and determine weights for indicators. In the proposed method, fuzzy set theory was used to consider the uncertainties and vagueness associated with qualitative and quantitative assessments of the identified indicator data. Fuzzy synthetic evaluation was used to aggregate the indicator value. The proposed approach extends the current body of knowledge on building energy ratings by integrating asset performance and operational performance through lifecycle thinking. A case study was conducted to demonstrate the application of the energy assessment tool. A java-based web tool was developed to assist the proposed assessment process.

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