Conservation-Compatible Retrofit Solutions in Historic Buildings: An Integrated Approach

Buda, A. and Jan de Place Hansen, E. and Rieser, A. and Giancola, M. and Pracchi, V.N. and Mauri, S. and Marincioni, V. and Gori, V. and Fouseki, K. and Polo Lopez, Cristina Silvia and Lo Faro, A. and Egusquiza, A. and Haas, F. and Leonardi, E. and Herrera-Avellanosa, D. (2021) Conservation-Compatible Retrofit Solutions in Historic Buildings: An Integrated Approach. Sustainability, 13 (5). p. 2927. ISSN 2071-1050

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Historic, listed, or unlisted, buildings account for 30% of the European building stock. Since they are complex systems of cultural, architectural, and identity value, they need particular attention to ensure that they are preserved, used, and managed over time in a sustainable way. This implies a demand for retrofit solutions able to improve indoor thermal conditions while reducing the use of energy sources and preserving the heritage significance. Often, however, the choice and implementation of retrofit solutions in historic buildings is limited by socio-technical barriers (regulations, lack of knowledge on the hygrothermal behaviour of built heritage, economic viability, etc.). This paper presents the approach devised in the IEA-SHC Task 59 project (Renovating Historic Buildings Towards Zero Energy) to support decision makers in selecting retrofit solutions, in accordance with the provision of the EN 16883:2017 standard. In particular, the method followed by the project partners to gather and assess compatible solutions for historic buildings retrofitting is presented. It focuses on best practices for walls, windows, HVAC systems, and solar technologies. This work demonstrates that well-balanced retrofit solutions can exist and can be evaluated case-by-case through detailed assessment criteria. As a main result, the paper encourages decision makers to opt for tailored energy retrofit to solve the conflict between conservation and energy performance requirements.

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