A socio-mathematical approach to exploring conflicts between energy retrofit and perceived heritage character

Reyyan S. Okutan, Tristan Kershaw, Manuel Herrera Fernandez, David Coley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)
183 Downloads (Pure)


Improving the energy efficiency of buildings is a key climate change mitigation strategy. The application of which will require substantial improvements in the pre-existing stock; a subset of which are buildings of historic importance. Retrofitting such buildings is controversial, as historic elements might be altered or covered up, thereby changing the character of the building. In this work, we introduce a novel socio-mathematical method to aid the resolution of this controversy. Firstly, we garner in a new way the views of 116 members of the public about the acceptability of 15 common retrofit measures. Secondly, the public's ranking of the acceptability of the measures with respect to heritage impact is compared to a ranking of the energy saving given by the measures when analysed using a dynamic thermal simulation of the building. No simple correlation is found; hence it is concluded that measures that present greater energy savings are not de facto more intrusive, and that there is the potential for a constructive dialogue between those inspired by a conservation agenda and those targeting carbon savings. Finally, by using a Pareto front approach, a new theory is developed of how to identify measures that are sensible in the eyes of both parties. This new three-stage process will be of use to those in Government attempting to resolve such conflicts or set national guidance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalBuilding and Environment
Early online date27 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2018


  • Conservation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Historic buildings
  • Pareto front
  • Retrofit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction


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