Ph.D Thesis

Ph.D StudentDrori Daphna
SubjectA Green Retrofit of Existing Residential Building in Israel
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisors PROFESSOR EMERITUS Edna Shaviv
DR. Abraham Yezioro
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


The State of Israel is facing predictions of rapid population growth together with a limited supply of consumable land, energy and water resources. In addition, its population density is one of the highest in the OECD countries. Following Israel's establishment in 1948, within a short time and with limited financial resources, large-scale, low-standard residential projects were built nationwide. Nowadays, over 1.2 million housing units are wasteful in energy and water consumption and are below standard requirements for thermal insulation and earthquakes. Hence, they do not provide suitable conditions to ensure the health and wellbeing of their occupants. One possible solution for these challenges is maximizing the use of existing buildings rather than demolishing and constructing new ones, which demands environmental, social and economic costs.

This research discusses the question of how to encourage the implementation of green retrofit of residential buildings. Understanding the difficulties involved in its actual implementation led to a characterization of what is unique in existing buildings (contrary to new buildings). Presenting a holistic and heuristic model, the study develops a knowledge-based decision -making system for the preliminary design stages to evaluate which solution would be better suited to a retrofit project of a given building. The system explores three influential measures: saving consumable resources of energy, land and water; improving quality of life while ensuring health and wellbeing; and weighing operational and finance feasibility considerations which often delay or prevent realization in the field. The model utilizes a combination of two databases: fixed generic information based on procedural methods, which basically replaces professional consultation, and specific knowledge provided by the user in relation to the project's site and client's needs and abilities. In addition, the system enables considering various stakeholders' perspectives and adopting solutions which are agreed upon by the majority.

The system was demonstrated and validated in a case-study investigating green retrofit solutions for the façade of a multifamily residential building. Reliable results were obtained for different scenarios regarding various climate zones, main building orientations, and stakeholders' perspectives. The system was found to be intuitive and friendly in the design process, as it requires introducing limited and specific data, while the generic knowledge is already embedded in the system. Moreover, evaluation via comparative numerical ranking of various solutions supports the decision-making process of the green retrofit.

      The system focuses on the building's façade because of its significant contribution to improving thermal comfort and the occupants' health and wellbeing. The study is coherent and suited to Israel's construction market with an emphasis on "Tama38", which is intended to reinforce existing buildings and develop a database for "Green Tama38". Moreover, the system focuses on the core issues related to green construction, which is in line with the Israeli green building standard: energy 38%, land 17%, water 13%, health and wellbeing 13%. This research highlights Israel's green retrofit potential, as well as the challenges and the wide array of issues that need to be addressed in the process.