Course syllabus


ACE166 ACE166 Sustainable building renovation lp2 HT20 (7.5 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Contact details

Despoina Teli, examiner, 

Anders Trüschel,
Amir S. Farahani,

Blanka Cabovska, 
Maria Jangsten,

Guest lecturers:
Paula Femenias, Associate Professor, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Design.
Jan-Olof Dalenbäck, Professor, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Services Engineering.
Charlotta Dahlberg and Kristina Nilsson, Energy and HVAC engineers at GICON

Course purpose

The aim of the course is to equip the students with the knowledge and skills required to address economic, environmental and social sustainability in building renovation projects. The course provides an in-depth understanding of challenges and constraints in dealing with existing buildings (e.g. technical issues, economic limitations, socioeconomic challenges, indoor environmental quality, architecture/heritage, energy performance).
Lectures, practical applications and class activities acquaint students with methods for evaluating existing buildings and their HVAC systems (Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning), exploring renovation measures and evaluating their economic profitability. The students apply the acquired knowledge and skills in a group assignment, where they act as consulting teams in a sustainable renovation and partial repurposing project of a residential multifamily building.



Course literature

Excerpts from the book “Buildings and Energy- a systematic approach”, Standards and Guidelines (e.g. ISO 17772-1:2017, CIBSE and ASHRAE guides), scientific and popular science articles, lecture slides.

Course design

The main topics and theory are introduced and developed through lectures during the first weeks of the course. Guest lectures by experts and experienced consultants provide further input and insights from realized renovation projects. Students work in teams on a renovation project, where they evaluate their proposed measures against performance indicators of the Swedish environmental certification scheme “Miljöbyggnad" using the commercial simulation program IDA Indoor Climate and Energy (IDA ICE). Students are given tutorials on how to use IDA ICE in their project. The renovation measures are also evaluated for their economic profitability and their consideration of social and architectural dimensions. Students are also asked to propose a new activity for part of the renovated building (partial re-purposing). This way, the project addresses both residential and non-residential activities, with their separate design requirements and considerations.

Detailed course plan can be found here : Course plan

Changes made since the last occasion

Grading of the project has been introduced and the project starts earlier compared to last year.

Learning objectives and syllabus

Learning objectives:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the environmental impact of existing buildings and how renovation can help to minimize it
  • define socioeconomic challenges in building renovation and differences in stakeholder perspectives
  • plan and deliver a holistic technical evaluation of an existing building, focusing on the condition of the envelope, the Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning systems (HVAC) and the Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
  • analyze and critically assess the energy and comfort performance of an existing building
  • develop ideas for renovation measures to improve the performance of an existing building, based on its current limitations (form, structure, HVAC, materials, activity, etc).
  • generate possible renovation packages from a range of possible solutions
  • use appropriate methods to determine the profitability of proposed investments (present value, annual cost, internal interest rate, payback time)
  • develop a final renovation package which considers multiple factors (energy efficiency, economy, indoor environment, architecture)
  • analyze and present the expected performance of a renovation package, verbally and in a written report

Syllabus webpage

Examination form

The examination consists of two elements:

1. Group performance- project (5/7.5 credits)
Assessment method: presentation and final report

2. Individual performance- examination (2.5/7.5 credits)
Assessment method: written exam

The final grade is weighted based on the credits of the two elements (project and exam).