Efficient Energy for EU Cultural Heritage: Highlights, Successes and Lessons Learned
Efficient Energy for EU Cultural Heritage: Highlights, Successes and Lessons Learned
For the last three years, the FP7  3ENCULT “Efficient Energy for EU Cultural Heritage” project has worked on bridging the gap between conservation and energy efficiency.
By adapting existing retrofit solutions to the specific issue of historic buildings and developing new products, it has demonstrated that a multi-disciplinary approach which targets and adapts energy-efficient solutions can reduce energy demands in historic buildings by Factor 4 or even Factor 10. 
In eight pilot projects, buildings were continuously monitored using specially created instruments which helped to identify and install the most suitable energy retrofit solutions, tracked the buildings’ energy use once retrofitted and continued to adjust usage for optimum performance.
Tools and concepts were developed to support implementation in different urban contexts and ensure an effective transfer to buildings in different locations. These include a multidisciplinary planning process with an ICT plug-in which integrated energy-related considerations into conservation “Roombook” software(historic building information model - hBIM) and an energy calculation tool adapted for historic buildings (Passive House Planning Package – PHPP).
A number of specific technical solutions were also developed. These include a highly energy-efficient conservation-compatible window prototype, installed at the Public Weigh House in Bolzano/IT and now commercially available, and an LED based wall-washer, developed for Palazzo d’Accursio in Bologna/IT and already being used in two further buildings. Other innovations include capillary active internal insulation which is being piloted in four buildings around Dresden/DE, a low impact ventilation system based on the active overflow principle currently being tested at the Höttinger School in Innsbruck/AT, wireless sensor networks at the Palazzina della Viola in Bologna/IT, and the first version of a dedicated BMS system, under review at the Engineering School in Bejar/ES,
3ENCULT has defined a methodological approach that integrates monitoring and control systems in a dedicated BMS system to guarantee a suitable Indoor environmental Quality (IEQ) with the lowest possible energy demand. As well as issuing position papers suggesting possible implementations of the present regulation framework for improving the energy efficiency of historic building in urban, the project has given input both to the EPBD and to CEN EPBD working groups under Mandate M/480 and has contributed to the development of a standard on Energy Efficiency in Historic buildings (CEN TC 346 WG8). On local government level, dedicated workshops have reached more than 100 policy makers. Guidelines for integrating municipal sustainability concepts in urban planning have also been published.
Project results have been made publicly available through a Frequently Asked Questions section on the website, a virtual library for sharing technical solutions (, a handbook for architects on the retrofit of historic buildings, two TV videos, contributions to conferences and workshops run by similar projects experience-sharing in study tours, European conferences and fairs – both in the energy and conservation sector. At AR&PA 2012 the project was awarded “Premio Innovation” for its exemplary actions in boosting links between cultural heritage and society.

1)  FP7 stands for the 7th European Framework Programme for research. 3ENCULT is co-funded under Grant agreement n°260162

Alexandra Troi