Prioritization of Façade Retrofit Measures to Achieve Energy Efficiency in Existing Office Buildings in Tehran

Document Type : Original Research Article


1 Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, School of Architecture & Urban Planning, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran.

2 Professor in Architecture, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran.


Addressing the problems of the inefficient existing buildings is of great importance in Tehran, where only a few buildings in the city are newly-built constructions. The existing building stock accounts for large energy consumption, and the problems of existing buildings are mostly related to the poor performance of the building envelope. The building façade, as the most significant part of the building envelope, considerably contributes to large thermal transmittance in existing buildings. As a result, studying the building envelope and especially the building façade can lead to considerable energy demand reduction in the building sector. Therefore, using façade retrofit measures can potentially reduce cooling and heating demand in existing buildings. This research tries to prioritize the façade retrofit measures based on their efficiency in reducing energy demand by adding thermal insulation, replacing windows, and adding shading to the south façade of the existing office buildings in Tehran. In other words, this research investigates the efficiency of the façade retrofit measures. It is hypothesized that using shading has more impact on reducing energy demand in south facades. This study is quantitative research drawing upon a parametrically performed simulation run by Energy Plus and Open studio in Rhino software with the help of Grasshopper plugin. The objectives were analyzed using Honeybee and Ladybug plugins. Also, a comparative study method was used to compare the energy consumption levels in retrofit scenarios and a reference model. The results show that adding shading is the most effective measure in facades with high heat transfer coefficients. In these facades, adding thermal insulation takes precedence over window replacement. Shading is still the most effective measure in facades with lower heat transfer coefficients; however, the window replacement should be prioritized to thermal insulation in retrofitting the existing façade with a higher heat transfer coefficient. 


Alonso, C., Oteiza, I., García-Navarro, J. & Martín-Consuegra, F. (2016). Energy consumption to cool and heat experimental modules for the energy refurbishment of façades. Three case studies in Madrid. Energy and Buildings, 126, 252–262. 
Alonso, C., Martín-Consuegra, F., Oteiza, I., Asensio, E., Pérez, G., Martínez, I. & Frutos, B. (2017). Effect of façade surface finish on building energy rehabilitation. Solar Energy, 146, 470–483.
Asadi, E., da Silva, M. G., Antunes, C. H. & Dias, L. (2012). A multi-objective optimization model for building retrofit strategies using TRNSYS simulations, GenOpt and MATLAB. Building and Environment, 56, 370–378. 
Aste, N. & Del Pero, C. (2013). Energy retrofit of commercial buildings: Case study and applied methodology. Energy Efficiency, 6(2), 407–423.
Capeluto, I. G. & Ochoa, C. E. (2014). Simulation-based method to determine climatic energy strategies of an adaptable building retrofit facade system. Energy, 76, 375–384. 
Carlos, J. S. & Corvacho, H. (2010). Retrofit measures in old elementary school buildings towards energy efficiency. Journal of Civil Engineering and Management, 16(4), 567–576. 
Dall’O’, G., Galante, A. & Pasetti, G. (2012). A methodology for evaluating the potential energy savings of retrofitting residential building stocks. Sustainable Cities and Society, 4(1), 12–21. 
Drissi Lamrhari, E. H., & Benhamou, B. (2018). Thermal behavior and energy saving analysis of a flat with different energy efficiency measures in six climates. Building Simulation, 11(6), 1123–1144. 
Haghani, M., Mohammad Kari, B., Fayaz, R. (2017). The assessment of window blinds effect on conserving energy consumption of office buildings in Tehran. Modares Mechanical Engineering, 17(4), 17-28. 
Haghir, S., Tashakori, L., Rezazadeh, H. & Ahmadi, F. (2020). ‘Algae Façade for Reducing CO2 Emission and Mitigating Global Warming (Case Study: Tehran Enghelab Street)’. Bagh-e Nazar, 17(89), 33-44. 
- Harkouss, F., Fardoun, F. & Biwole, P. H. (2018). Multi-objective optimization methodology for net zero energy buildings. Journal of Building Engineering, 16(October 2017), 57–71. 
International Energy Agency (IEA). (2013). Modernising Building Energy Codes. Retrieved from
Issue 55, General Technical Specifications of Construction Works. (2016). Deputy of Technical Affairs, Office of Codification of Technical Criteria and Standards, Publications of Planning and Budget Organization.
Luddeni, G., Krarti, M., Pernigotto, G.,& Gasparella, A. (2018). An analysis methodology for large-scale deep energy retrofits of existing building stocks: Case study of the Italian office building. Sustainable Cities and Society, 41, 296–311.
Molaii, M.; Pilechiha, P. & Shadanfar, A. (2019). Optimization of Window Proportions with an Approach to Reducing Energy Consumption in Office Buildings. Naqshejahan- Basic studies and New Technologies of Architecture and Planning, 9(2),117-123.
Ministry of Energy. (2013). Iran Energy Balance Year 2012. Deputy of Electricity and Energy Affairs. Electricity and Energy Planning Office.
Radwan, A. F., Hanafy, A. A., Elhelw, M. & El-Sayed, A. E. H. A. (2016). Retrofitting of existing buildings to achieve better energy-efficiency in commercial building case study: Hospital in Egypt. Alexandria Engineering Journal, 55(4), 3061–3071. 
Reinhart, C. F., Jakubiec, J. A. & Ibarra, D. (2013). Definition of a Reference Office for Standardized Evaluations of Dynamic Façade and Lighting Technologies. 13th Conference of International Building Performance Simulation Association, Chambéry, France, August 26-28, 3645–3652.
Rey, E. (2004). Office building retrofitting strategies: Multicriteria approach of an architectural and technical issue. Energy and Buildings, 36(4), 367–372. 
Rosti, B., Omidvar, A. & Monghasemi, N. (2020). Optimal insulation thickness of common classic and modern exterior walls in different climate zones of Iran. Journal of Building Engineering, (27).
Rysanek, A. M., & Choudhary, R. (2013). Optimum building energy retrofits under technical and economic uncertainty. Energy and Buildings, 57, 324–337.
Sarihi, S. (2022). Energy efficiency in existing buildings through façade retrofit (office buildings in Tehran). Unpublished Ph.D. thesis. Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran.
Sarihi, S. & Derakhshan, Z. (2018). Advanced Integrated Facades, a New Solution to Energy Concerns. Conference Proceedings of the International Conference in Engineering, architecture and urban management. Conducted by Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology. 
Sarihi, S., Mehdizadeh Saradj, F. & Faizi, M. (2021). A Critical Review of Façade Retrofit Measures for Minimizing Heating and Cooling Demand in Existing Buildings. Sustainable Cities and Society, 64, 102525.
Semprini, G., Marinosci, C., Ferrante, A., Predari, G., Mochi, G., Garai, M. & Gulli, R. (2016). Energy management in public institutional and educational buildings: The case of the school of engineering and architecture in Bologna. Energy and Buildings, 126(2016), 365–374. 
Shafiei Dastjerdi, M., Sadeghi, N. & Rafiee, M. (2020). ‘Minimizing Energy Consumption by Optimizing the Exterior Skin Materials on the Scale of Urban Block A Case Study of a Deteriorated Area (Hemmat Abad, District 6 of Isfahan Province of Iran)’. Bagh-e Nazar, 17(91), 95-110. 
Shamshiri, S., Davazdah Emami, M. & Ataei, A. (2017). Energy Conservation using Daylight Energy Transfer through Windows : Case of Office Buildings. Iranian Journal of Energy, 20(2), 127-146.
Song, X., Ye, C., Li, H., Wang, X. & Ma, W. (2017). Field study on energy economic assessment of office buildings envelope retrofitting in southern China. Sustainable Cities and Society, 28, 154–161.
Stevanovic, S. (2013). Optimization of passive solar design strategies: A review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 25, 177–196.
Tovarovic, J. C., Ivanovic-Šekularac, J. & Šekularac, N. (2017). Renovation of existing glass facade in order to implement energy efficiency and media facade. Energy and Buildings, 152, 653–666. 
Wang, Z., Ding, Y., Geng, G. & Zhu, N. (2014). Analysis of energy efficiency retrofit schemes for heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems in existing office buildings based on the modified bin method. Energy Conversion and Management, 77, 233–242. 
Wilkinson, S. (2012). Analysing sustainable retrofit potential in premium office buildings. Structural Survey, 30(5), 398–410. 
Zhou, Z., Zhang, S., Wang, C., Zuo, J., He, Q., & Rameezdeen, R. (2016). Achieving energy efficient buildings via retrofitting of existing buildings: A case study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 112, 3605–3615.