Subsurface construction from an energy point of view. Potential energy savings from underground construction
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Underground buildings are often overlooked as option to reduce energy requirements, while alleviating pressures on land. This study explores the potential energy savings from underground construction as compared to aboveground buildings in the Western part of the Netherlands. By comparing underground and aboveground energy losses through heat transfer to the environment at various temperatures, for different building materials and several depths over a time period of five years, an indication of the energy savings potential can be established. The results show that energy can be saved in specific circumstances. If beneficial indoor temperature requirements are set and the right building materials are used, energy can already be saved within five years. Putting the results in a broader perspective, there are opportunities for underground construction. In this exploratory study underground construction indicates to be beneficial under the right circumstance on an individual level. A combination of both aboveground and underground spatial planning could be a step forward to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. In addition to this, underground construction has the advantage to reduce aboveground land use problems. A next step is to analyse multiple underground buildings with different indoor temperature requirements.