Heating energy savings potential from retrofitting old apartments with an advanced double-skin façade system in cold climate
Apartments account for over 60% of total residential buildings and consume a significant portion of primary energy in South Korea. Various energy efficiency measures have been implemented for both new apartment constructions and existing apartment retrofits. Old apartment structures have poor thermal performances, resulting in a high energy consumption. The South Korean government initiated retrofitting projects to improve the energy efficiency in old apartments. Apartment owners typically replace old windows with high-performance windows; however, there is still a demand for better and more innovative retrofit methods for a highly improved energy efficiency. This paper proposes an advanced double-skin façade (DSF) system to replace existing balcony windows in old apartments. Considering the cold climate conditions of Seoul, South Korea, it mainly discusses heating energy savings. Three case models were developed: Base-Case with existing apartment, Case-1 with typical retrofitting, and Case-2 with the proposed DSF system. The EnergyPlus simulation program was used to develop simulation models for a floor radiant heating system. A typical gas boiler was selected for low-temperature radiant system modeling. The air flow network method was used to model the proposed DSF system. Five heating months, i.e., November to March, and one representative day, i.e., January 24, were selected for detailed analysis. The main heat loss areas consist of windows, walls, and infiltration. The results reveal that the apartment with the DSF retrofit saves 38.8% on the annual heating energy compared to the Base-Case and 35.2% compared to Case-1.