Multi-active façade for Swedish multi-family homes renovation: Evaluating the potentials of passive design measures

Susanne Gosztonyi, Magdalena Stefanowicz, Ricardo Bernardo, Åke Blomsterberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


In order to meet the Swedish energy efficiency objectives for the built environment until 2050, a particular building stock has to be addressed: the houses of the Million Homes Programme, an ambitious housing programme of the 1960s and 70s that resulted in a large number of standardized multi-family houses all over Sweden. These are in need of upgrading the energy and comfort quality to current standards, which provides an excellent opportunity to investigate the potentials of ‘prefabricated multi-active’ façades for refurbishments on large scale. While ‘prefabrication’ is linked to cost-effectiveness and high replicability, ‘multi-active’ addresses the potential of embedded active and passive measures for improved energy efficiency and energy regulation out of the façade. Integrated building services technologies, solar technologies or moveable components, such as shading systems, are considered active measures. Passive measures include physical and constructive measures, such as e.g. thermal insulation or selective coatings of glazing’s, and provide a “passive” energy flow control to improve the thermal quality of the building envelope. Many of these strategies are well-known, traditional solutions. Although they do not provide an energy-generating or -supplying function, they dynamically interact with environmental changes; preheating of supply air through the air cavity of a façade construction or adaptive thermal buffer zones are just few of many examples. The question is how traditional passive strategies can be used to contribute most effectively to the demanded energy efficiency. The paper presents first results from an assessment dealing with this question: Two traditional ‘passive’ façade strategies, a curtain wall system and closed balconies, have been analysed in regards to their impact on energy balance and their thermal behaviour in a defined renovation scenario. The assessment is aims to support the development of a multi-active facade concept suitable for large-scale refurbishments of the multi-family houses in Sweden, which is part of the initial phase in the pre-study “Multi-active façade”. The pre-study considers architectural, technological and constructive aspects, energy performance and indoor comfort optimization, but also economic feasibility and constraints to get replicable on large scale. So-called added values that concern the upgrade to modern living standards and expectations by inhabitants and the market value of the building are also touched. The paper discusses, based on a technology screening to identify suitable key measures, the energy saving potential and impact on thermal indoor comfort of two passive renovation strategies for facades.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-21
JournalJournal of Facade Design and Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Energy renovation
  • Multi-active façade
  • Multi-family buildings
  • Multifunctional façade
  • Passive measures
  • Sweden


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