Integrated ecological and energy-oriented refurbishment of service buildings - development of quality criteria and tools within a pilot project (LCC-ECO)

Formulation of a procedure for the general refurbishment of service buildings and development of guidelines to support building owners and facility-managers in each stage of the refurbishment process in order to reach an integrated ecological and energy-oriented refurbishment.

Content Description





Many public buildings such as offices, administration buildings or schools, which were built between 1950 - 1980 require a major refurbishment. These buildings are often redesigned or even expanded in many cases as a result of an architectural competition. The present refurbishment practice is affected by:

  • Investment costs for the construction as all-dominant factor;
  • An extensive use of conventional technologies; and
  • A lack of consciousness of the building owners and managers about the importance of current operation costs as well as possible depreciation and cost loads due to a lack of consideration for ecological concerns.


The "Buildings Of Tomorrow"-project team supported and advised the building owner and construction management concerning the integrated planning process at the refurbishments´ arrangement which included energy and ecological aspects. Aspects which are not typically considered in a conventional refurbishment were taken into account.

Intended goals

Based on the pilot project, a design for the whole refurbishment process should be developed. A design which assures that the refurbishment plan leads to an optimised economical and ecological result. The results should be presented in a guide for integrated economical and ecological/energetic refurbishment of service buildings, which addresses facility manager and person in charge of buildings.


The consulting activities for the pilot project were accomplished by the method of integrated planning. Within the framework of this project the core element of this method is the life-cycle-costs analysis and expanded by additional quality criteria according to the constructors' requirement. The terms are defined as:

  • " Life-cycle-costs" (LCC) can be defined as the sum of all costs caused by a building over its lifetime covering the phases project idea, design, construction, operation/utilisation, refurbishment and deconstruction. Specific costs of subsequent phases like costs for energy and water consumption arise immediately. Life-cycle-costs-analysis (LCCA) describes the assessment of the life-cycle-costs.
  • " Quality criteria": this term refers to for example indoor air quality, sound insulation or ecological quality of the building materials. One can avoid the risk that another cost-intensive refurbishment might be necessary in the near future through fulfilling additional quality criteria.


At the beginning, the development of framework conditions for applying integrated planning was the focus of the project. Among others, developing the basic design for an integrated refurbishment process was included. Furthermore, screening and reviewing of existing tools was accomplished in terms of their possible application for different phases of the refurbishment.

The main element of the pilot project was the consulting activity in technical and organisational aspects for the refurbishment of the Pestalozzi school in Graz. Starting from the basic evaluation, the "BuildingsOfTomorrow"-project team recommended refurbishment activities, written in a so-called "profile of measures". Thereby, each suggestion was defined either as a requirement, or as a goal.

The main part of the "profile of measures" was listed in the bidding documents of the refurbishment work. Improvements were proposed and included in the bidding text, whenever there was any lack regarding the aspects integrated planning.

Concerning the construction works, the "Buildings Of Tomorrow"-project team carried out on-site inspections. Thereby, particular attention was paid to the use of ecological materials. Clarity and agreement on the products used could be achieved through clarification of building products and chemicals so that there were only minor offences compared to the contract.

Based on the experiences of the pilot project a general guide for integrated planning for major refurbishment of service buildings was designed. The results were primarily diffused through cooperation at the development in the work group "Ecological criteria at school building" led by the Austrian Institute for Construction of School and Sports Facilities (ÖISS) and by the participants of the refurbishment process.


For such a project to be successful, it is necessary that all participants are convinced of the value of integrated planning. A clear understanding of the goals of the project is also necessary. The integrated planning is characterised through:

  • Integrated approach of the project goals and concurrent integration of technical, financial, environmental relevant and social criteria;
  • Intensive communication between the project partners; and
  • Long term view of the whole life-cycle of the building.

Integrated planning can lead to a higher amount of work, which is currently not adequately compensated. Extra costs associated with quality criteria are infrequently appreciated. This leads to situations where only aspects get transferred successfully which are transacted with specialised know-how and without extra investment costs.

The implementation of ecological criteria like the use of environmental friendly materials or rational use of energy into the approach of building owners is a first step on the way to integrated planning. The examination of the life-cycle-costs is a substantial component. The sooner the examination of the life-cycle-costs takes place, the greater the chance that it will influence initial ideas and schemes.
For the application of integrated planning a standardised process is recommended. Therefore, standardised criteria and checklists are necessary. More information and sensitisation of the construction branch are essential for the dissemination of the assessment of the life-cycle-costs. Moreover tools and a data bank of running costs of buildings need to be developed for a wide application of the life-cycle-cost-calculation.

Project Partners

Project manager:

DI Gerhard Hofer, Österreichische Energieagentur


  • Österreichisches Institut für Baubiologie und -ökologie GmbH
  • Architekturbüro Dungl
  • bauXund Forschung und Beratung GmbH


DI Gerhard Hofer
Österreichische Energieagentur
Otto-Bauer-Gasse 6, A-1060 Wien
Tel.: +43 (1) 5861524-57
Fax: +43 (1) 5861524-40