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Belpoliti, V, Nassif, R, Alzaabi, E and Aljneibi, A (2020) Multi-criteria assessment for the functional-energy upgrade of the UAE school sector: a bottom-up approach promoting refurbishment versus new construction. Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 16(03), 167–90.
- Type: Journal Article
- Keywords: Refurbishment; public schools; bottom-up analysis; energy upgrade; energy simulation; building classification; energy policy; urban policy; UAE Vision 2021;
- ISBN/ISSN: 1745-2007
- URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/17452007.2019.1652798
Due to poor building conditions, most of UAE’s existing public schools do not meet the latest educational governmental requirements. For this reason, the government elaborated a new generation of public schools that soon will replace half the existing buildings. While some schools are already fully abandoned because of typological unsuitability, many others are unoccupied or underused due to social and urban changes. Regardless of the reason of the buildings’ conditions, the new schools will empty over 300 existing ones, producing a large waste of resources and embodied-energy. Moving within the framework of the UAE Vision 2021, this study promotes refurbishment practices in the local school sector to minimize the use of new resources by extending the life cycle of existing ones. A multi-criteria assessment, including socio-demographic, pedagogical, typological-functional, and energy performance analyses, helped evaluating the feasibility of refurbishing existing schools as an alternative to the common practice of demolishing and building new facilities. The paper presents the results of the 3-year research conducted for UAE public schools: a deep survey campaign allowed mapping, analyzing, and classifying the existing school stock. Then, through a bottom-up approach a sample building was selected to simulate detailed refurbishment actions, addressing typological renovation and energy upgrade. The results proved the financial feasibility of the proposal. Finally, thanks to the bottom-up approach, the benchmark outcomes have been extended to the broader UAE scenario showing significant financial benefit that would derive from the application of the proposed refurbishment.