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Scientometric mapping of global research on green retrofitting of existing buildings (GREB): Pathway towards a holistic GREB framework

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Tetteh, MO 
Darko, A 
Chan, APC 
Jafari, A 
Brilakis, I 


Green retrofitting of existing buildings (GREB) represents one of the best opportunities to reduce global energy consumption and carbon emissions, as well as improve people’s health, well-being, and quality of life. It has thus received significant attention from researchers and practitioners over the years, with the proliferation of research works and publications. However, no study has attempted to comprehensively investigate the cumulative theoretical and practical value of this body of knowledge. This study aims to analyze the existing global research on GREB through the lens of a scientometric review technique and to provide pathways for future research. The scientometric mapping technique was utilized to systematically and quantitatively analyze 5,288 related bibliographic records retrieved from Scopus. Results showed that “energy efficiency” retrofitting has become the utmost research priority, while “occupant behaviour” and “indoor environmental quality” (comfort, satisfaction, air quality, etc.) are declining in importance in the current framework of GREB. Moreover, other concepts such as intelligent buildings, circular economy, and nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB) are infusing into GREB. Based on the status-quo of practice, a holistic GREB framework involving two potential pathways – technology/approach-centred and human/physical-centred pathways – was proposed. The findings of this study not only contribute to the knowledge domain, but also act as a catalyst to spur the practice by revealing the research needs in this field.



Green retrofitting, Sustainable building upgrade, Sustainable building renovation, Building refurbishment, Existing buildings, Scientometric review

Journal Title

Energy and Buildings

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Journal ISSN


Volume Title


Elsevier BV