Criteria to Evaluate the Quality of Building Envelope Retrofits

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The construction industry is progressively moving from designing and building new towards redesigning, upgrading and maintaining existing buildings. Concurrently, the increasing demand for urban renewal calls for architectural interventions. Success and the meeting of set goals is typically assessed using an established framework.
Architectural tradition offers methodologies to evaluate built structures based on characteristics like build quality, engineering performance, functionality, spatial design, and effects on the living environment. However, in addition to these qualities, building refurbishments target energetic, economic, environmental and social improvements. They respond to complex requirements set by an extensive network of stakeholders. A qualitative building assessment based on architecture alone does not sufficiently reflect the aims of such processes, and a holistic means to analyze refurbishment designs is lacking.
This paper presents a review of existing building assessment methodologies, and suggests a new, simple set of evaluation criteria for interventions on the building envelope. The proposal is demonstrated by assessing three cases illustrating different approaches to such processes. Evaluation results prove the usability of the method to assess the variation in extent and aims of implemented measures. Coupled with quantitative estimations, it could aid the decision making process in residential housing cooperatives. Future development should include further cases and more extensive building refurbishments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-164
Number of pages13
JournalArchitectural Research in Finland
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • building envelopes
  • build quality
  • evaluation criteria
  • refurbishments
  • energy retrofits
  • qualitative building assessment


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