What are the general public's needs, concerns and views about energy efficiency retrofitting of existing building stock? A sentiment analysis of social media data

Publication Name

Energy and Buildings


Energy efficiency retrofitting of existing buildings (EEREB) is critical to combating climate change. While policy interventions that seek to encourage widespread EEREB adoption benefit from a deeper understanding of public retrofit decision behaviour, studies that comprehensively evaluate the general public's sentiments towards EEREB are lacking, contributing to a lack of understanding of the public's needs, concerns and views. This study aims to evaluate the general public's needs, concerns and views about EEREB. A total of 3,306 data of the general public's views were collected from the social media platform YouTube, pre-processed and analyzed using the Model-based clustering and a text mining technique. Results showed nine areas of public concerns: ventilation, energy efficiency, indoor environment quality, comfort and occupant behaviour, cost involved, community engagement, technology use, implementation knowledge, and social impact. The general intention to retrofit is mostly driven by personal choices, not regulations per se, although some climate-dependant factors strongly impact public sentiments. Moreover, the recognition of benefits and public support for EEREB was attached to the understanding of cost saving and payback period and finding reliable supply-side actors for retrofit works, respectively. Overall, the public reported positive sentiments (56%) toward EEREB. Novel insights into the general public's needs, concerns and views have been uncovered in this study, which policymakers can utilize to better advocate for EEREB.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access



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Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Hong Kong Polytechnic University



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