Task 59 newsletter Autumn 2019

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Welcome to Task 59's Autumn Newsletter 

The International Energy Agency's IEA-SHC Task 59:Renovating Historic Buildings towards zero energy (HistoricNZEB) showcases examples of how historic buildings from across the world can be renovated to allow substantial reductions in energy use and associated carbon dioxide emissions, while safeguarding the buildings’ cultural significance.

This newsletter gives you an overview of conferences in which Task 59 has participated in Glasgow and London, introduces you to the SubTask Leader, Uppsala University and reports on the project’s 2019 meetings and workshops.

FEATURE Paper Accepted for publication

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation

We have submitted a paper on the special issue: “Contemporary challenges in conserving built cultural heritage.” The paper titled “Deep renovation of historic buildings: the IEA-SHC Task59 path towards the lowest possible energy demand and CO2 emissions” has contributions from Daniel Herrera-Avellanosa, Franziska Haas, Gustaf Leijonhufvud, Tor Brostrom, Alessia Buda, Valeria Pracchi, Amanda Laurel Webb, Walter Hüttler and Alexandra Troi. It presents the approach of IEA-SHC Task59 to address some of the social, economic and technical barriers that are hampering the implementation of energy efficient measures in historic buildings. In addition to that, the paper provides a novel definition of lowest possible energy demand for historic buildings that is broadly applicable in both practice and research.

IEA-SHC Task59 2019 Conferences

STBA-SPAB in London, All-Energy and Decarbonise in Glasgow

Image taken from STBA conference images © STBA-SPAB

All-Energy and Decarbonise 2019, Glasgow, United Kingdom

Historic NZEB partners, Historic Environment Scotland, attended and presented at the All-Energy and Decarbonise 2019 Conference in Glasgow, which ran from the 14th to 16th May. This national-level event was focussing on policy level issues such as urban planning, smart energy networks and renewables. HES commented on the wider approach to the refurbishment of older buildings and how the supply chain of skills and materials can be improved. 

STBA-SPAB Conference in London, United Kingdom

HES also spoke at the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance, which took place on 11th June in London. Dr Moses Jenkins, Senior Technical Officer in HES's Conservation team, detailed to a large international audience the recent work done by HES regarding policy approaches to retrofitting and the recently completed review of the properties that HES has thermally refurbished since 2010. Other speakers at this event considered policy solutions at scale for 20% of pre-1919 buildings.

PARTNER FOCUS Uppsala University

SubTask B Leader, Visby, Sweden

Researchers at Uppsala University (Image © 
Located in the World Heritage town of Visby, Uppsala University Campus in Gotland is a natural place to study historic buildings. The research group in Building Conservation has been working with indoor climate and energy efficiency in historic buildings for more than 25 years.

Within Task59, Uppsala University is responsible for Subtask B, focusing on three multi-disciplinary planning process. Within this, they will be looking into the identification of replicable procedures for how experts can work together in order to maintain both the expression of the building while making it more energy efficient at the same time. This partner has three members:

Tor Broström, pictured on the left, is a professor in Building Conservation for the School of Art. With a background in engineering, he has spent most of his professional career working with historic buildings. Tor is the coordinator of the Swedish National Research Program on energy efficiency in historic buildings and he was the chairman fir the working group that produced the European standard in this field.

Petra Eriksson, pictured in the centre, is a lecturer in Conservation and a PhD student. Petra has a BA in Building Conservation and will complete her PhD thesis in 2020. Her study deals with the balance between preservation and energy savings in building stocks, in order to contribute to sustainable management in built heritage.

Gustaf Leijonhufvud, right, is a post-doc in Conservation. Gustaf has a BA in Building Conservation and his PhD concerned decision making for energy efficient climate control in historic buildings. His current projects deal with policies for energy efficiency and climate change adaptation of built heritage. His main research interest in the interplay between research, policy and practice.

Uppsala University partners can be contacted at


Task 59 Meetings & workshops 2019

Project workshops in Brussels, Solaris event and CISBAT Conference in Switzerland 

EURAC presentation at the HP Forum in Brussels, Belgium  (Image © EURAC Research)
Heat Pump Forum 2019, Brussels, Belgium

On the 15th and 16th May, the Heat Pump Forum 2019 took place in the beautiful building of The Egg in Brussels. Elena Lucchi from EURAC Research and Valentine Carì from Progetto Serra presented the new possibilities relating to the energy retrofit of historic buildings. They presented in particular the work of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Task 59 and of the Interreg V-A Italy-Switzerland "BIPV meets history" with the aim of creating a network of heat pump procedures. In addition, the case study of Villa Castelli at Como Lake was presented as a good example of energy retrofit of historic buildings.

Solaris #3 Event, Revano, Switzerland

The "Solaris #3 Event" took place on 5th July ther took place in Ticino,  was an opportunity to talk about solar energy in the architectural fiels and, in particular, in built heritage.. The event was hosted in the Aula Magna at SUPSI Campus in Trevano, Cannobio Lugano. Several guests, most of whom are actively involved on the international and nation scene, participated together with researchers from Switzerland and Italy. There, Daniel Herrera, from EURAC Research, presented current innovations regarding the photo-voltaic solar market products, specifically for the integration into buildings (BIPV systems), showing the public the different research experiences including the Interreg projects "BIPV meets history" and "Atlas", both linked to the activities of Task 59 and EBC Annex 76 concerning the use of solar energy in historic buildings

Round table from the "Solaris #3 Event", including Daniel Herrera (EURAC Research) and Cristina Polo-Lopez (SUPSI) of Task 59.  (Image © SUPSI)
CISBAT International Scientific Conference 2019, Lausanne, Switzerland

September saw a paper presentation at CISBAT 2019 International Scientific Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland. The paper concerned on the P-RENEWAL project methodology, entitled "A method for the retrofitting of pre-1914 Walloon dwellings with heritage value", written by Dorothée Stiernon, Sophie Trachte, Samuel Dubois, Julie Desarnaud.


EVENT LISTINGS from across the world

Forthcoming events on energy-related renovations of historic buildings

Federal Ministry Republic of Austria, Hofburg, Vienna (Image © BHO)

Renovate Europe event

Historic Environment Staff will be at the Renovate Europe Event in Brussels on the 8th Oct. They will be one of many stands at the Parliament showcasing their work and describing how it contributes to the work of the NZEB project. The Chief Executive of HES, Alex Paterson, will be speaking and introducing the work of HES and the case study material on display.


Scotland Europa Event for Environmental Leaders

Also on the 8th October, Alex Patterson will be speaking at a Scotland Europa Event for Environmental Leaders and is titled ‘Heritage for all: Scotland's historic environment in a changing world’. It’s from 08.30 to 09.30 on Tuesday 8 October. It will be mainly focusing on our work on climate change and sustainability. Details including registration can be found here: 

The image above outlines how energy improvements can be undertaken within older cottages, as illustrated in a special edition of Scottish Land and Estates. (Image © Historic Environment Scotland)

Scottish Land and Estates outreach events

Historic Environment Scotland are working with Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) to advise landowners and farms on how to upgrade traditional rural cottages in Scotland. Often such buildings are remote, have no access to gas, and achieve poor assessment ratings due to low insulation levels and restricted fuel types. However, on the positive side there is often access to biomass and there are many opportunities for solar and wind power. HES will be delivering a series of outreach events in Scotland to farmers and contributing to a special edition of the magazine featuring upgrade options for older cottages (see headline image).

Management and Conservation of buildings of Historical Value

The IEA-SHC Task59 will have a dedicated session in this conference on the Management and Conservation of buildings of Historical Value. Dr Alexandra Toi of EURAC research will be presenting on the work of Task59 and the role of research in the use of renewable energy in historic buildings. In addition, Task59 will be present in one of the dedicated workshop streams where different presentations will address topics like dissemination of best-practices, quality assurance, or tools for better decision making. his will then be followed by an open forum concerning 'Energy Efficiency and Historic buildings- contradiction or reality?'. Dr Troi will be a member of the panel during this forum. 

Building Physics in the Preservation of Monuments event

Alexandra Troi and Franziska Haas of EURAC research are to give a seminar on “Historic NZEB and historic buildings” while attending Building Physics in the Preservation of Monuments of Schadensvermeidung im Altbau und Baudenkmal event in November. Keep an eye out for a piece on this after the seminar has taken place!

Keep in touch #HistoricNZEB

We would like to keep our subscribers up to date on events concerning the energy performance of historic buildings and their energy-related renovations. If you know of any events, please email us. We love to hear from you!

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You can find more information about the project and its current activities on our project website and on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow #Task59.


Project particulars

Renovating Historic Buildings Towards Zero Energy (HistoricNZEB) is a project for the International Energy Agency, as Task 59 and Annex 76 of the agency’s Solar Heating & Cooling Programme and Energy in Buildings & Communities Programme respectively.

The project’s full title is: Deep Renovation of Historic Buildings Towards Lowest Possible Energy Demand and CO2 Emissions (NZEB). The abbreviation in the title stands for Net Zero Energy Building.

The project is led by EURAC Research, a research organisation in Bolzano / Bozen, Italy. The project coordinator, Ms. Alexandra Troi, Vice Head of EURAC’s Institute for Renewable Energy, can be contacted by email at:

This newsletter is coordinated by Historic Environment Scotland, a public body of the Scottish Government.
Copyright © 2019The Project Partners of Deep Renovation of Historic Buildings Towards Lowest Possible Energy Demand and CO2 Emissions (NZEB), except for the imagery, which is copyrighted as stated

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