Last Updated: 11-2021
When refurbishing residential buildings, insulation materials play a crucial role in improving housing quality and energy efficiency. Materials however differ in a wide set of criteria. It reaches beyond the thermal properties and addresses environmental, economic, health and safety characteristics. In collective decision-making, it remains difficult to find trade-offs between these criteria. This thesis
introduces a web-based tool ROTUNDORO [Latin: circular] that offers an algorithm to assess refurbishing insulation materials, considering engineering evaluation methods and consumer preferences. The tool employs and expands on Building Information Modelling (BIM) practice on the one side and behavioural economic research on the other side. First, the Linked Building Data (LBD) method is used to link material performance to building components and to evaluate them with Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and cost analysis. Applied to a Dutch terrace house (Rijwoning) as a use case,
the tool shows that bio-based materials perform best in environmental concerns, low embodied carbon, high noise and humidity reduction. Fossil- and mineral-based materials are yet market-leading, due to low price and easier application techniques in existing constructions (cavity injection). Following the hard data comparison, the tool simulates the probability of acceptance by the homeowners of various materials used in retrofitting. This simulation is based on consumer research – a stated choice
experiment conducted amongst 500 Dutch homeowners, investigating their preferred choices between insulation material packages. Findings reveal that the studied population showed a high willingness to invest in energy refurbishment. Reducing CO2 emissions and noise levels as well as improving comfort are just as important. These criteria vary depending on the chosen material and so does the probability of
acceptance. Applied to the Rijwoning case study, results show that the injectable insulation materials are preferred, however are closely followed by materials with lowcarbon and high noise-reducing potential. This study contributes to the enhancing of collective decision-making processes. The tool improves the communication between different stakeholders in the effort to reach global climate goals.