Public participation in energy saving retrofitting of residential buildings in China

Wenling Liu Wenling, J. Zhang, B. Bluemling, A.P.J. Mol, C. Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Retrofitting existing residential buildings has been claimed as one crucial way to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions within the Chinese residential sector. In China’s government-dominated retrofitting projects, the participation of residents is often neglected. The objective of this paper is to assess the influence level of public participation (before, during and after retrofit) on energy saving by comparing three Beijing neighborhoods with different retrofitting models: a central government-led model, a local government-led model, and an old neighborhood retrofit model. In the three cases data were collected through interviews with neighborhood workers and residents. The results show that residents’ involvement in pre-retrofit activities, in technology selection and in the use of technology differs greatly among the three cases. This study concludes that in order to improve the effectiveness of energy saving interventions, the motives, intentions and living habits of residents need to be given more consideration when designing and implementing retrofitting. By highlighting the importance of public participation this paper contributes to energy saving policy development in China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-296
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • northern heating region
  • efficiency retrofit
  • built environment
  • policy


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