Task 59 newsletter 30 May 2019

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Welcome to Task 59 #HistoricNZEB

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 Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, introduces you to the project coordinator, EURAC Research, reports on the project’s 2017/2018 meetings and workshops in Ireland, Scotland and Sweden.

Lastly, two small request: Please forward this free newsletter to those of your colleagues, who might be interested in subscribing to the newsletter, and email us about forthcoming events, so that we can create a dedicated newsletter sections with event listings. You can find more information about the project and its current activities on our project website and on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

FEATURE IEA-SHC Task59 @ 2018 conferences

EEBH in Sweden, EuroSun in Switzerland and European Wise in Spain

City Wall, Visby, Sweden; (Image © Uppsala University)
HistoricNZEB's activities are starting to attract the attention of scholars involved in the sustainable renovation of historic buildings. We feature here three conferences, in which the concepts behind #HistoricNZEB was involved in 2018: EEHB in Sweden, EuroSun in Switzerland and European Wise in Spain.

EEHB conference in Visby, Sweden

Task 59 was present at the 3rd International Conference on Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings, held from 26 to 27 September 2018 in Visby, the capital of the Swedish island of Gotland and a UNESCO World Heritage site (depicted above). The conference was organised by the Swedish Energy Agency, Swedish National Heritage Board and Uppsala University. Some 60 papers were presented by researchers from 25 different countries. Several of the presenters are involved in Task 59, which also, at the conference, distributed information material, displayed a poster about the project and held a stakeholder workshop and its third project partner meeting (see newsletter article after next). The conference presentations and associated papers are freely available online.

EEHB’s predecessor conferences were held, as Congreso Internacional Eficiencia Energética y Edificación Histórica, in 2014 in Madrid, Spain, organized by Fundación Casas Históricas y Singulares and Ars Civilis, and, as Energy Efficiency and Comfort in Historic Buildings, in 2016 in Brussels, Belgium, organized by the Task 59 partner Belgian Building Research Institute.

The next EEHB conference will be held in Bavaria, Germany, in 2022, organised by Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, also a HistoricNZEB partner.

EuroSun in Rapperswil, Switzerland

Mr. Daniel Herrera, a research of Task 59's project coordinator Eurac Research (see next newsletter article and picture in the last article), was invited to give a keynote lecture at EuroSun 2018, a conference dedicated to solar energy for buildings and industry. The conference took place in Rapperswil, Switzerland, in September 2018 and welcomed 350 participants from 49 countries worldwide. Titled Solar Renovation of Historic Buildings: Towards a Zero Energy Built Heritage, Mr. Herrera's lecture presented the lessons learnt from the renovation of Villa Castelli, an 18th-century house on lake Como, Italy, as part of the 3encult project, and the opportunities for integration of solar technologies in the built heritage as part of such building renovations.

VIOLET conference in Seville, Spain

In addition to EEBC and EuroSun, Mr. Herrera and Ms. Aitziber Egusquiza, of Task 59 partner Tecnalia Research & Innovation were also sharing their experience on Historic NZEB at the European Wise Event, organised by the Interreg Europe project VIOLET (preserVe tradItiOnal buiLdings through Energy reducTion) in Seville, Spain. Ms. Egusquiza presented the details of a methodology for decision making in the energy retrofit of historic areas and Mr. Herrera outlined the activities developed in Task 59 aimed at bridging the gap between research and practice in the renovation of historic buildings.

Interest in such expert contributions to local and regional events is growing, and Task 59 partners are available to answer.

PARTNER FOCUS Eurac Research

Research centre from South Tyrol, Italy, leads Task 59 Project

Researchers at EURAC (Image © EURAC) 
Eurac Research, the project coordinator of Task 59, was founded in 1992 as an association with just twelve members of staff undertaking research in the areas of Language and Law, Minorities and Autonomous Regions as well as the Alpine Environment. The centre gradually expanded its activities into new areas and attracted scientists from all over the world. Today, almost 400 scientists from over 25 countries work at Eurac.​

The International Energy Agency has appointed, as Operating Agent, Eurac's Ms. Alexandra Troi, a cofounder and the vice head of Eurac's Institute for Renewable Energy and leader of its Energy Retrofit of Historic Buildings group. She stresses the importance of this assignment when saying: ”Historic buildings are an important part of our cultural heritage, especially in Italy. It is therefore gratifying that Italy has the honour of coordinating this large-scale project. In the past 30 years, the Solar Heating and Cooling Programme of the International Energy Agency has twice commissioned Italy to manage an international project and on both occasions, we from Eurac Research were the leading research partner.”

The Energy Retrofit of Historic Buildings group focuses on energy performance of historic buildings and districts, researches energy-related retrofit measures compatible with building conservation, analyses the hygrothermal performance of built structures and investigates conservation aspects of building renovation and energy planning. The group has been involved in a number of projects, funded by the European Union and focused on retrofit of historic buildings, namely EFFESUS, 3enCULT and SMooHS. These projects have produced a number of scientific publications, including the book Energy Efficiency Solutions for Historic Buildings: A Handbook.

The group consists of eight researchers with a wide range of skills, applied to the field of historic buildings renovation, from traditional construction techniques and conservation theory to building physics and numerical simulation. Ms. Troi's major fields of interest are the monitoring and simulation of environmental conditions and their interrelation with cultural heritage. She is working on HistoricNZEB together with her colleagues Franziska Haas, an expert in historic building construction and the assessment of heritage significance impact of renovation measures, Lingjun Hao, a Ph.D. candidate working on the impact of climate change on historic buildings’ future performance, Daniel Herrera, a research interested in finding retrofit solutions that offer a compromise between conservation and energy efficiency, and Elena Lucchi, an expert in non-destructive testing and energy audit of existing and historic buildings. Together the group provides an excellent knowledge base to support Task 59's activities.

Task 59 Meetings & workshops 2017/18

Partner meetings and project workshops in Ireland, Scotland and Sweden

Networking at a seminar on energy retrofit of historic buildings in November 2018 in Stirling, Scotland, supported by HistoricNZEB. (Image © Historic Environment Scotland | photographer: Roger Curtis)
EEHB articleThe four year project IEA-SHC Task 59 started on 01 September 2017. Since then, the project's partners have met on three occasions biannual project meetings, at which we also held seminars to engage with national and regional stakeholders. The first meeting took place in September 2017 in Edinburgh at the offices of the project partner Historic Environment Scotland. The Historic NZEB seminar organised in conjunction with this meeting received positive responses from the local stakeholders, which included representatives of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, Scottish Ecological Design Association, Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Scottish Government and the universities of Newcastle, Cardiff, Strathclyde or Loughborough.

At the second partner meeting, held in Dublin in February 2018, two separate stakeholder events were to be held: First, a joint meeting with the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Energy, Sustainability and Climate Change took place, which included members of ICOMOS's Irish national committee and visiting members of the international committee. A second event for the engagement with the local stakeholders was also scheduled, but, despite having the confirmation of 125 participants, had to be cancelled due to exceptionally adverse winter weather conditions.

The most recent, third partner meeting was held from 27 to 29 September 2018 in Visby, Sweden, coinciding with the third EEHB conference (see newsletter article above). The stakeholder event here, on 25 September, focused on engaging with national, regional and local representatives from energy agencies, industry and academia.

In addition to the stakeholder events linked to partner meetings, Task 59 also supported a seminar on Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings (depicted above), held on 22 November 2018 by Historic Environment Scotland at its building conservation centre, The Engine Shed, in Stirling.

EVENT LISTINGS from across the world

Forthcoming events on energy-related renovations of historic buildings

Daniel Herrera of Eurac Research presented HistoricNZEB at the conference EuroSun 2018 in Rapperswil, Switzerland, September 2018 (Image © EURAC Research)
IEA SHC TASK 59 4th Expert Meeting in Copenhagen

Attendees at the 4th Expert meeting in Copenhagen. (Image © HistoricNZEB)

In early April the organisers of Task 59 arranged for the 4th IEA SHC Task 59 Project meeting in Copenhagen, hosted by the Danish Building Research Institute at their offices on the waterfront to the south of the city. Around 30 experts attended the 3-day meeting, where several important topics were discussed. Good progress is being made with the website structure for the case studies, and some project partners had already filled out some case study material. Feedback on structure and functionality were considered.

Experts were also encouraged to sign up to the newsletter to ensure best exchange of project and other information as well as submit Partner Profiles for future circulation and dissemination. Several new partners were introduced, and a presentation was delivered by SUPSI from Switzerland on the many recent developments in solar panels on buildings, and the applicability of such technologies to older and historic structures - see their partner profile below 

SUPSI Insitute for applied sustainability to the built environment

New partners joined the 4th expert meeting of the IEA-SCH Task 59/IEA-EBA in Copenhagen, Denmark

UPSI Institute for applied sustainability to the built environment joined the 4th expert meeting of the IEA-SHC Task 59/IEA-EBC Annex 76 in Copenhagen, Denmark which focused on Renovating Historic Buildings Towards Zero Energy last April 2019. SUPSI Institute for applied sustainability to the built environment, Swiss partner of the ATLAS - Interreg Alpine Space - project, will participate in the activities of the task bringing its expertise in the field of solar renewable energies.

On April 9th, Ms. Cristina Polo, researcher of the Swiss BIPV Competence Centre, presented the experts group current research activities on Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) showing the potential of retrofitting historic buildings considering also solar solutions. New prototypes and solutions of innovative BIPV systems now in the market - which can open up new ways to exploit RES by overcoming technical and legal barriers while preserving the authenticity of historic buildings- have been presented to the audience. An overview of selected Swiss Solar prizes best examples which consider solar renewable integration in historical buildings, were also presented and discussed with the experts.

The meeting included a tour with stakeholders, in the Fortifications Depot, a historical listed building fully energy renovated (a CO2-reduction project) near the modern BLOX building, an OMA-designed building closed to Copenhagen’s inner harbour front and home of the Danish Architecture Center (DAC). The building which makes use of on-site renewable energy and achieves the Low Energy Class host an urban innovation hub, the Bloxhub, a coworking space that seeks to create solutions for better cities.

Attendees at the 4th Expert meeting in Copenhagen. (Image © HistoricNZEB)

Keep in touch #HistoricNZEB

We would like to report in forthcoming newsletters on events concerned with 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!


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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