Buildings

1. Interim report: Analysis of current situation

Starting from private homes and ending with hospitals and industrial facilities, buildings are the most common type of infrastructure, also used in other infrastructure sectors (such as railway stations, airports, bus stations, power plants, fuel storage facilities, etc.). In terms of buildings, private sector has an important role in it - climate change affects the private owners-residents the most, and so the adaptation activities are also to be carried out by them. The role of the national, regional and local authorities consists of implementing climate change adaptation measures within all tangible assets in accordance to climate changes and taking into account climate change adaptation measures in spatial planning as well as when issuing permits. Each year in Estonia, the extreme weather events cause either greater or lesser damage to buildings. Storm winds have torn off the roofs of the houses and floods and rain water have led to significant water damage. In addition to extreme weather events, great damage has been caused also by heavy snow which has resulted the fall of roofs, as well as heavy rainfall which leads to the moisture damage in buildings. The main adaptation actions taken in the past, as well as which are being implemented now, is designing and building in accordance with the requirements  set to comply with the climate conditions, and ensuring the quality assurance of the buildings.


2. Interim report: Climate change impact assessment (including analysis of possible risks and vulnerability)

Buildings stock in Estonia compared to other EU member states is characterised by high energy consumption and low quality. Majority of apartment buildings are concrete element buildings built during the period of 1961-1990 and accommodating 72% of country’s apartments and 88% of living spaces. High contrasts describe also commercial sector buildings where future energy consumption will depend on the year a building dates from and can in case of old buildings result in stagnation of energy consumption on a high level. Construction of new buildings has been slow and with the uneven quality. Low quality and high age makes the building stock more vulnerable to climate change impacts.

Climate change impacts many aspects of buildings including energy efficiency, indoor climate as well as structures and construction materials. Because of this it is crucial to consider climate change impacts when planning new buildings and/or refurbishing existing building stock. Buildings are the most affected by increase of the frequency of extreme precipitation, heat waves through the whole country and flooding events of coastal areas. The rise in annual average temperature may as a positive effect lower the average heat consumption but at the same time raise cooling demand and with that electricity consumption. High temperatures have the biggest impact on office buildings and hospitals, buildings where people are staying during the daytime and are unable to choose/change their location, making the control of overheating more important than for houses. The rise in precipitation affects many aspects of buildings, having a negative impact on indoor climate and energy efficiency as well as on construction materials. Sea level rise and extreme weather events may in the future cause more flooding with greater impacts making climate change adaptation especially crucial for coastal built up areas.


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