Why Building Refurbishment Matters in Pakistan

Why Building Refurbishment Matters in Pakistan

Revolutionizing building refurbishments in Pakistan is crucial to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Sensor-driven approaches can optimize refurbishment interventions, bridging the performance gap and overcoming challenges of financial constraints, lack of knowledge, complexity, and concerns about negative outcomes. This leads to cost-effective measures that conserve value, enhance comfort, improve health, provide noise protection, and reduce costs. By implementing tailored incentives, streamlined regulations, and quality assurance, Pakistan can accelerate refurbishments for sustainable, green-built environments.

Building Refurbishment in Pakistan

In the Pakistani context, it is essential to consider the unique characteristics of the country’s building stock and the diverse stakeholders involved. Buildings in Pakistan have diverse uses, ranging from residential to commercial and industrial. Moreover, the involvement of various stakeholders, including planners, builders, owners, tenants, occupants, caretakers, financial institutions, and authorities, adds complexity to the refurbishment process. Multidisciplinary expertise from architecture, engineering (such as heating, ventilation, sanitary, electricity, communication, fire protection, and structural), and other relevant domains is required to effectively address the challenges associated with building refurbishments in Pakistan.

Addressing the energy and environmental challenges posed by the built environment in Pakistan requires collaboration and expertise from various domains. Experts from architecture, engineering, energy, environmental sciences, and policy-making need to work together to develop holistic solutions that reduce energy demand, lower emissions, and create co-benefits. By leveraging sensor-driven building refurbishments and embracing sustainable practices, Pakistan can contribute significantly to the creation of green and sustainable built environments while addressing climate change issues.


Building refurbishments offer numerous benefits beyond energy savings.

Conservation of Value

Refurbishing a building helps maintain its value and extend its lifespan. Upgrading and modernizing the building’s infrastructure, systems, and aesthetics can enhance its market appeal and prevent depreciation over time. This is particularly important in regions with ageing building stocks, such as Pakistan, where preserving the value of existing buildings is crucial.

Increased Thermal Comfort

Building refurbishments often involve improving insulation, sealing air leaks, and upgrading heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. These measures result in better control of indoor temperature, reducing drafts and cold spots. Enhanced thermal comfort ensures occupants feel more comfortable in their living or working spaces, leading to improved productivity, satisfaction, and overall well-being.

Enhanced Health and Indoor Air Quality

Refurbishments can address issues related to indoor air quality (IAQ) by improving ventilation systems, using low-VOC (volatile organic compound) materials, and eliminating sources of pollutants such as mould or asbestos. Better IAQ contributes to a healthier indoor environment, reducing the risk of respiratory problems, allergies, and other health issues.

Outdoor Noise Protection

Building refurbishments can include measures to reduce external noise penetration, especially in urban areas with high noise levels. Upgrading windows, enhancing insulation, and implementing soundproofing solutions help create a more peaceful and comfortable indoor environment, shielding occupants from excessive noise pollution.

Operation and Maintenance Cost Reduction

Refurbishments can lead to long-term cost savings by improving energy efficiency and reducing operational expenses. Upgrading to energy-efficient lighting, appliances, and HVAC systems can significantly lower utility bills. Additionally, refurbishments may incorporate durable materials and systems that require less frequent maintenance and repairs, further reducing ongoing operational costs.


Certainly! The challenges mentioned in the context of building refurbishments in Pakistan can be further explained as follows:

Financial Constraints

One of the primary barriers to building refurbishments is the lack of financial resources. Many building owners, especially in lower-income segments, may struggle to allocate funds for refurbishment projects. The cost of materials, labour, and professional expertise can be significant, making it difficult for individuals and organizations to undertake refurbishments without financial support or incentives.

Lack of Knowledge

Limited awareness and knowledge about the benefits and processes of building refurbishments hinder their adoption. Many building owners and stakeholders may not be familiar with energy-efficient practices, technologies, and available incentives. The lack of awareness leads to a reluctance to invest in refurbishments or to prioritize energy efficiency in building designs.

Overwhelming Complexity

Building refurbishments involve multiple technical and administrative aspects that can be overwhelming for building owners and stakeholders. The complexity arises from considerations such as building codes and regulations, selecting appropriate materials and technologies, coordinating with contractors and professionals, and navigating the refurbishment process itself. Dealing with these complexities can discourage building owners from pursuing refurbishments.

Concerns About Negative Outcomes

Building owners may have concerns about potential negative outcomes associated with refurbishments. For example, there may be fears of moisture damage, mould growth, or other unintended consequences that could arise during or after the refurbishment process. These concerns may stem from a lack of confidence in the expertise of professionals, previous negative experiences, or general perception of risk associated with refurbishments.


To overcome the challenges associated with building refurbishments in Pakistan and leverage sensor-driven approaches for improved effectiveness, the following recommendations can be considered:

Financial Support and Incentives

The government and relevant stakeholders should introduce financial support mechanisms and incentives to alleviate the financial constraints faced by building owners. This can include subsidies, grants, low-interest loans, or tax incentives specifically targeted at building refurbishment projects. Financial institutions can also develop specialized financing options tailored to refurbishment needs.

Simplified Regulatory Processes

Streamline the regulatory procedures and requirements associated with building refurbishments. Simplifying and standardizing permit processes, documentation, and compliance procedures will make it easier for building owners to navigate through refurbishment projects. This can involve close collaboration between government bodies, regulatory authorities, and relevant stakeholders to develop streamlined guidelines and frameworks.

Quality Assurance and Monitoring

Establish quality assurance mechanisms to ensure the effectiveness of refurbishment interventions. This can involve independent inspections, performance evaluations, and post-refurbishment monitoring using sensor-based technologies. Implementing a standardized system for measuring and verifying energy savings will build confidence among building owners and help address the performance gap.

Deploying Wireless Sensor Networks

Deploying wireless sensor networks in real-life occupied buildings can present practical challenges, but advancements in electronics and battery technology make it increasingly feasible. Through comprehensive building assessments based on sensor data, it becomes possible to make informed decisions, improve the accuracy of energy assessments, and enhance the effectiveness of building refurbishments in Pakistan.

By implementing these recommendations, Pakistan can overcome the challenges associated with building refurbishments and leverage sensor-driven approaches to enhance the effectiveness of refurbishment projects. This will ultimately contribute to achieving energy and climate goals, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating sustainable built environments in the country.


In conclusion, building refurbishments hold immense significance in Pakistan’s efforts to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By embracing sensor-driven approaches and addressing the challenges of financial constraints, lack of knowledge, complexity, and concerns about negative outcomes, Pakistan can unlock the benefits of refurbishments. These benefits include conserving value, enhancing thermal comfort, improving health and indoor air quality, providing noise protection, and reducing operation and maintenance costs. Through tailored incentives, streamlined regulations, quality assurance, and the deployment of wireless sensor networks, Pakistan can accelerate the refurbishment rate and pave the way for sustainable, green-built environments. By prioritizing building refurbishments, Pakistan can contribute significantly to a greener, more resilient future while addressing climate change challenges head-on.

This article is written by Waqar Ahmad. Waqar is a Research Analyst at the Iqbal Institute of Policy Studies (IIPS).




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