Comparative Analysis of Web of Science and Scopus on the Energy Efficiency and Climate Impact of Buildings

Although the body of scientific publications on energy efficiency and climate mitigation from buildings has been growing quickly in recent years, very few previous bibliometric analysis studies exist that analyze the literature in terms of specific content (trends or options for zero-energy buildings) or coverage of different scientific databases. We evaluate the scientific literature published since January 2013 concerning alternative methods for improving the energy efficiency and mitigating climate impacts from buildings. We quantify and describe the literature through a bibliometric approach, comparing the databases Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus. A total of 19,416 (Scopus) and 17,468 (WoS) publications are analyzed, with only 11% common documents. The literature has grown steadily during this time period, with a peak in the year 2017. Most of the publications are in English, in the area of Engineering and Energy Fuels, and from institutions from China and the USA. Strong links are observed between the most published authors and institutions worldwide. An analysis of keywords reveals that most of research focuses on technologies for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning, phase change materials, as well as information and communication technologies. A significantly smaller segment of the literature takes a broader perspective (greenhouse gas emissions, life cycle, and sustainable development), investigating implementation issues (policies and costs) or renewable energy (solar). Knowledge gaps are detected in the areas of behavioral changes, the circular economy, and some renewable energy sources (geothermal, biomass, small wind). We conclude that (i) the contents of WoS and Scopus are radically different in the studied fields; (ii) research seems to focus on technological aspects; and (iii) there are weak links between research on energy and on climate mitigation and sustainability, the latter themes being misrepresented in the literature. These conclusions should be validated with further analyses of the documents identified in this study. We recommend that future research focuses on filling the above identified gaps, assessing the contents of several scientific databases, and extending energy analyses to their effects in terms of mitigation potentials

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Last updated: 2021-05-17

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

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IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute has a wide environmental profile. We combine applied research and development with close collaboration between industry and the public sphere. Our consultancy is evidence-based, and our research is characterized by interdisciplinary science and system thinking.


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