16 February 2022
COVID-19 has caused the building sector’s energy consumption to undergo significant shifts and volatility. The work-from-home culture has dealt a severe blow to demand for commercial real estate. The lack of occupancy translates to reduced energy use in buildings. This dampens the need for energy efficiency improvement in commercial buildings, which were previously the target of many energy efficiency initiatives. As the world deals with the pandemic and with a more remarkable shift toward working from home, it is anticipated that residential buildings will be the epicenters of energy improvements. Improvements in the existing stock of residential buildings will be key to reaching energy efficiency targets. Issues arise, however, when considering the potential retrofit solutions for the current residential building stock. Residential buildings typically utilize air-cooled split units, hence improvements in standards and labels are the only measures that can be implemented for residential space cooling. Aside from the use of LED lighting, building envelope improvements are the only energy-saving measure that can also be carried out, but this is typically very expensive despite studies that show that building envelopment improvements in residential units in Indonesia can potentially save 69 percent of energy use in a building’s 40-year lifespan.