Cost-Optimal Renovation Solutions for Detached Rural Houses in Severe Cold Regions of China

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High heating expenses are observed in numerous Chinese rural houses located in severe cold regions due to the high heating demand, inferior envelope performance and low-efficiency heating equipment. The local traditional heating methods include Chinese Kangs and coal boilers with water-based radiators. The intermittent operation and manual regulation of these systems result in significant temperature differences and inadequate thermal comfort. This study presents the cost-optimal envelope renovation solutions with the minimized lifecycle cost (LCC) during a 20-year discount period and CO2 emissions of annual delivered energy consumptions. A single-family detached rural house in Harbin was used as a case building, illustrating the typical state of comparable houses in this climate context. Simulation-based multi-optimization analysis was conducted in this study using the building simulation tool IDA ICE and its integrated optimization tool AutoMOO. The results indicate that the cost-optimal renovation solutions with intermittent and continuous heating can cut CO2 emissions by 30% and 40%, respectively. The LCC with intermittent heating is still 7% greater than its pre-renovation case, which may require external financial support to encourage the renovation conduction, while the LCC with continuous heating decreased by 8% after renovation. According to the comparison results, cost-optimal solutions have significant advantages in both reductions of LCC and CO2 emissions over standard-based solutions. Moreover, utilizing intermittent heating is more effective than continuous heating in demonstrating the positive impacts of envelope renovation on increasing average temperature, decreasing temperature differences and lowering occupied time at low thermal comfort levels.
Original languageEnglish
Article number771
Number of pages19
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • optimal renovation solutions
  • intermittent heating
  • rural house
  • lifecycle cost
  • CO2 emissions
  • cold climate


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