This Year's Best Thesis on the Theme “Sustainable Development”

Anastasiia An is this year’s winner of the award for the best thesis on the theme sustainable development. This is the third year the award has been handed out to a student at Dalarna University and as with previous years, the winner will receive a travel grant of 10 000 sek.

Anastasiia Ann vid dator

A graduate of Dalarna University’s Master’s Programme in Energy Efficient Built Environment, Anastasiia based her thesis on her research on how energy performance can be improved in a newly designed residential area. The focus of her study was the village of Bysjöstrand, a so-called EcoVillage, which is under construction just south of the town of Grangärde, not far from Ludvika.

Her thesis describes the combination of various types of analysis and technology to achieve the lowest possible energy demand. The buildings’ siting, their orientation, their window-to-wall ratios and the buildings' insulation thickness were among some of the factors she considered, as well as the solar energy potential of each building. Overall, the study shows that the total annual energy consumption in the EcoVillage can be reduced by as much as 50 percent.

– I believe that decisions made at the early stage of building or settlement design can greatly influence the energy performance of the built environment. Moreover, the benefits of reducing the energy consumption can be maximised by using renewable energy sources, explains Anastasiia. She adds that the proposed methods for energy optimisation are supported by economic calculations that show investment in such methods to be cost-effective.

How would you like to see the results of your thesis used in the future? Who do you think can make use of the conclusions you arrived at?

– I consider my study to be useful for anyone interested in sustainable development and involved in the energy performance optimisation of buildings. With my thesis work, I want to contribute to the high sustainability ambitions of architects and engineers, so they can integrate energy assessment and building optimisation activities into the planning process at the early design stages. According to the results of my work, I believe that the strategic decisions combined with energy-efficient design and onsite renewable energy production are the most widely recognised ways in which a building or a neighbourhood design can contribute to a more sustainable community with a smaller carbon footprint, states Anastasiia.

Deciding on the winning entry was a jury made up of three members from Dalarna University’s Council for Sustainable Development. They motivated their decision as follows:

"Energy is incredibly central to a transition to sustainability. In just a few decades, all of society needs to be fossil-free, and this can be achieved both through the supply of more renewable energy as well as through the smarter use of the energy that is supplied. Anastasiia An combines these two approaches when she addresses the possibility of trying to optimise energy performance in a residential area in the early planning phase. The combination of analyses that were conducted in the study shows great potential energy saving. Her approach is applicable in other construction contexts as well: therefore, its potential benefit for society is great. Anastasiia's work was carried out in a systematic fashion, and besides demonstrating academic preciseness, her thesis is pedagogical and as such comprehensible even to those who are not themselves in the construction or energy industry."

Here you can read the master’s thesis

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