Energy-led refurbishment of non-domestic buildings: Ranking measures by attributes

Megan Elspeth Strachan, Phillip Frank Gower Banfill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


In the context of the energy-led refurbishment of traditionally-constructed non-domestic buildings, the purpose of the work was to identify the attributes that professionals consider to be important in the selection of energy performance improvement measures, and to establish their relative importance.
A questionnaire-based Delphi exercise was carried out in order to draw up a set of attributes agreed among a small panel of experts. Subsequently a paired comparison questionnaire was completed by the experts to establish the relative importance ascribed to the attributes.
22 assessment attributes, relevant to different stages in the building’s life-cycle, were agreed as important by the expert panel. Measures fell into one of three broad groups, expressed on a weighting scale of 0-100, such that the sum of the weights of all 22 measures was 100. Measures of relatively high importance (7-9%) included capital cost, potential energy and carbon savings, financial payback and impact on the building’s vapour permeability. Measures of medium importance (4-5%) were impact on internal air movement, loss of significant original building fabric, impact on internal layout, appearance and occupant comfort, environmental impact and availability of grants or subsidies. Eight further measures were ranked of low importance (2-3%).
This paper is the first attempt to draw up a ranking order of the attributes of energy performance improvement measures, applicable to non-domestic buildings. It confirms that more attributes must be considered by professionals with decision-making responsibility than merely cost, energy performance and payback on investment, and suggests that policy instruments targeting or incentivising a single or a restricted range of attributes risk failure to deliver the desired improvements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-302
Number of pages17
Issue number5/6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2017


  • refurbishment
  • non-domestic buildings
  • assessment
  • professionals


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