Life-cycle energy optimization of new and retrofitting buildings

Low-energy buildings are currently built by applying Energy Efficiency Measures (EEMs) to reduce operational energy during the building’s use phase. These EEMs are launched by finding appropriate building shape, orientation, window to wall ratio, improving the thermal resistance of the building envelope and enhancing the use of renewable energy sources. However, recent studies depict that with respect to the entire life cycle, these buildings do not necessarily outperform the conventional ones and can paradoxically result in an increased energy use. This is because the EEMs are often obtained by using additional materials and components which can eventually require a significant amount of “embodied energy” to manufacture them. As European Union requires all new and retrofitting buildings to be low energy by the end of 2020, there is an urgent need to develop methods and tools in order to balance the trade-off between embodied and operational energy use in the design of EEMs. This research project thus aims to: (1) examine and identify possible EEMs which have significant impact on the embodied/operational energy trade-off, (2) develop an optimization method of EEMs alternatives in order to minimize the life cycle energy use and (3) test and verify the method’s applicability in a number of case studies of new and retrofitting buildings.


Formas Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development

Time period

Start: 2019-01-01, End: 2022-12-31

Partner organizations

  • Luleå University of Technology
  • Uppsala University

Project leader

  • Marcus Sandberg from Luleå University of Technology
  • Farshid Shadram from Uppsala University


- Shadram, F., & Mukkavaara, J. (2019). Exploring the effects of several energy efficiency measures on the embodied/operational energy trade-off: A case study of swedish residential buildings. Energy and Buildings, 183, 283-296.

- Sandberg, M., Mukkavaara, J., Shadram, F., & Olofsson, T. (2019). Multidisciplinary optimization of life-cycle energy and cost using a BIM-based master model. Sustainability, 11(1), 286.

- Shadram, F., Bhattacharjee, S., Lidelöw, S., Mukkavaara, J., & Olofsson, T. (2020). Exploring the trade-off in life cycle energy of building retrofit through optimization. Applied Energy, 269, 115083.

- Mukkavaara, J., & Shadram, F. (2021). An integrated optimization and sensitivity analysis approach to support the life cycle energy trade-off in building design. Energy and Buildings, 253, 111529.

Last modified: 2022-02-17