Sustainability (Oct 2019)

A Comparative Analysis of the International Regulation of Thermal Properties in Building Envelope

  • David Bienvenido-Huertas,
  • Miguel Oliveira,
  • Carlos Rubio-Bellido,
  • David Marín

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 20
p. 5574


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To achieve the goals of reducing building energy consumption, regulations are being designed to guarantee the appropriate energy performance of buildings. Both European and South American countries establish requirements of thermal properties of building envelope according to the climate zone, thus implying notable differences in climate classifications and technical requirements. This research provides a general view of advantages and limitations between the different state regulations of three South American countries (Argentina, Brazil, and Chile) and three European countries (Spain, Portugal, and France). A total of 792 simulations were conducted with Energy Plus by considering 12 different dwelling typologies in 66 climate zones. Building envelopes were adapted to the regulations of the various countries. Results showed tendencies of performance clearly different between the South American and the European countries, with the latter being those with the lowest energy demands. The cluster analysis of distributions of energy demand revealed that buildings located in similar climates but in different countries present very different energy performances. This research opens up the discussion on the development of more demanding policies related to thermal properties of buildings. Also, the analysis at a continental scale could reduce the differences between countries and guarantee a more sustainable life for the building stock.