Social Housing Building Envelope Retrofit in Russia New Material Assembly Application

Arena, Theron
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In the 1950’s the Russian government began a massive construc tion campaign to provide housing throughout the country. Millions of units were built with minimal varia tion to supply housing demand. The driving force was to keep the cost of construc tion as low as possible; as a result these buildings were built with no energy efficiency standards. In addition, the interior of these buildings have very poor thermal comfort. These units had an intended lifespan of 25 years but, unfortunately, are still in use today. This fact together with an outdated and failing district hea ting infrastructure has resulted in a substan tial need for improved building envelope retrofits of these old prefabricated concrete buildings. Various retrofit op tions have been studied in Moscow since 1997, when the building codes in Russia changed to incorporate energy efficiency in the building envelope design. The most recent study by VTT (VALTION TEKNILLINEN TUTKIMUSKESKUS) Technical of Finland in 2014, was very thorough in overall scope, but had several areas where it could be improved. The answer is fiber cement and cellulose insula tion in a prefabricated building element. As no such building element currently exists, the culmina tion of this research document results in the crea tion of a new building material assembly that is ideally suited for sustainable prefabricated building envelope retrofits. There is a need for this new material assembly because it will provide a be tter, more adaptable, less expensive, easier to install, more sustainable, lower life me maintenance exterior insula tion system than any other material on the market today. The site loca tion selected for study is in Volzhsky, a small but progressive city in the southwestern corner of Russia. The social housing retrofit proposed herein will provide a precedent that can be followed and modified throughout the en re country.
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