Human-driven energy efficiency in historic buildings

In Europe, historic buildings constitute about 14% of the total building stock; however, in several historic cities this percentage could dramatically grow, up over 50%. In Italy, for example, about 30% of buildings (around 12.5 million) dates from before 1945. These data, coupled with the current replacement rate of existing buildings by new-built, which is under 3%, highlights the importance of individuating suitable solutions for the energy retrofit of historic buildings. Despite this necessity, until today the majority of energy-related
standards in Europe exempted this category of buildings from respecting the energy performance prescriptions. This, because the European culture of historic evidences’ preservation conceives the protection of cultural heritage as its “material” conservation, which theoretically requires to leave the object (in this case the building) as the history left it. For this reason, the implementation of the most common energy-retrofit measures (such as envelope insulation or windows’ substitution) on historic buildings is not always possible nor
allowed. There is thus the necessity of individuating and experimenting energy retrofit solutions that could balance the necessity of preserving them as material evidences, but also reducing their environmental footprint and adapting them to the current standards of liveability, wellbeing and comfort. In fact, their persistence is strictly related to their usability, accessibility and suitability for human activities. Based on these considerations, one of the possible solutions is to explore the potential of human-driven energy efficiency. In fact, buildings’ energy usage is strictly related to their operation by humans. Moreover, intervening on the building operation does not require any “material” intervention, avoiding any damage to the historic evidence and, in some cases, contributing to historic materials and decorations conservation. This paper introduces a methodology called BIOSFERA (Building Intelligent
Operational Strategies For Energy Retrofit Aims), which investigates the potential of energy saving and indoor environmental conditions enhancement by acting only on how the building is operated by building operators and occupants. Moreover, the results obtained in a first pilot study will be critically analysed considering the potential impact that the adoption of the methodology in a broader scale could have in economic, environmental and social terms.

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Human-driven energy efficiency in historic buildings

Sector: Buildings

Country / Region: Global

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In 1 user collection: Session 2b: Behavioural insights for end-use energy efficiency in buildings

Knowledge Object: Publication / Report

Publishing year: 2020

Author: G. Spigliantini, M. Schweiker, C. Becchio and S.P. Corgnati