Task 59 newsletter Autumn 2019

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Welcome to Task 59's Winter 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 the project’s case study platform; publications from some of our partners; conferences in which Task59 has participated in; introduces you to the SubTask D leaders, Historic Environment Scotland, and reports on the project’s 2019 meetings and workshops.

On behalf of all the project's partners and associates, we would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Task59, along with our sister-project ATLAS, are very pleased to announce the launch of the ATLAS database for the Energy Retrofit of Historic Buildings. This showcase platform for best practice buildings is still in its Beta phase and many projects will be included over the next few months, so be sure to keep checking back. You can also see each of these historic buildings highlighted in our #BestPracticeBuildings thread on Twitter.

Dissemination of best-practices is a powerful tool to engage building owners in the adoption of low-carbon measures and increase the renovation rate of buildings (currently below 1% per year). This database will offer owners, architects and developers the possibility to find the inspiration and information needed to pursue their own renovation projects and profit from already existing knowledge.

The success of best-practice and demonstration projects is generally dependent on the nature of the information provided. Poor definition of the target audience, lack of access to appropriate examples, and the incomplete documentation and evaluation of results has limited the effectiveness of best-practice dissemination in the past. The scope and content of such a database has been discussed with the interdisciplinary panel of scholars that form the research projects IEA-SHC Task 59 “Renovating Historic Buildings Towards Zero Energy” and Interreg Alpine Space ATLAS. The use of visual information (photographs, icons, charts, and construction drawings) and short texts will make the experience accessible to unexperienced users (e.g. building owners) while detailed information will be available in a second instance for more specialized users (e.g. architects and engineers).

Task59 Touring Exhibition

From October, we were pleased to begin our touring exhibition in Vienna. This exhibition is made up of 12 roll-up banners and shows the best practice case studies in a new and exciting way. Organisations interested in joining the tour and exhibiting at one of the venues can send an email to EURAC Research, the Italian-based institute coordinating the project. You can find out more information here.

PUBLICATIONS Winter 2019/2020

Blogs and articles from the project's partners. 

A publication for Subtask B is set to be featured in Science Direct’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews in February of next year. Entitled ‘Dynamic thermal and hygrometric simulation of historical buildings: critical factors and possible solutions’, the paper concerns the factors which affect the reliability of energy simulation of historic buildings. An abstract of the article can be found here.

In addition, Science Direct’s Energy and Buildings publication from the beginning of December features an article from our partners at Uppsala University. This publication focuses on visibility assessment within historic buildings and ensuring, looking forward, that new technologies are utilised for visibility assessments without affecting the aesthetic, fabric or expression of the building envelope. 

Figure 1 from EURAC’s blog piece shows the timeline of Climate Change related projects © EURAC Research.

Task59's First Blog Post!

This season saw the very first blog piece for Task59. Our colleagues at EURAC research were kind enough to produce this first piece on the effect of climate change on retrofitted historic buildings. It also highlights the work of other projects like Climate for Culture and Adapt Northern Heritage, the latter of which is led by Historic Environment Scotland. It shows Task59’s unique perspective on retrofitted historic buildings as opposed to historic buildings in their original state. Make sure to go to our blogs page for all future pieces. Our next blog will be from CEREMA, reporting on the National French conference on historic buildings.


As well as promoting our first blog piece on their own portal, Build Up: The European portal for Energy Efficiency in buildings, also published two articles highlighting one of Task59’s best practice case studies and the work of EURAC Research. The first article goes into the building materials, structure and aesthetic of the historic building in Rainhof, Gsiesertal, Italy before detailing the interventions that were undertaken by the project, especially concerning energy efficiency considerations. The second article focuses on the general need for new technologies in energy retrofitting and EU funded projects who are utilising these technologies, including HistoricNZEB.

Scottish Land and Estates Pull-out
The article included detailed advice for increasing energy efficiency in several aspects of a private sector traditional building. (Image @ Historic Environment Scotland)

Finally, Historic Environment Scotland published a feature in the Autumn edition of Scottish Land and Estates. This four-page pull-out examined ways to improve energy efficiency in traditional buildings, specifically in the private rented sector in Scotland.  As well as outlining specific advice on carrying out work to traditional buildings, the guide also includes details and other guides and technical papers published by HES concerning traditional building renovation.

IEA-SHC Task59 Winter 2019 Conferences
Renovate Europe in Brussels, BHÖ conference in Vienna and the Solar Heating and Cooling conference in Chile

As part of the REDAY conference, EURAC’s Daniel Herrera, second on the left, participated in a panel debate. (Image © Renovate Europe)

Renovate Europe Day 2019

Several of the project’s partners were able to attend the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium for the Renovate Europe’s REDay 2019. This took place on Tuesday 8th October. In addition to participating in round tables, presentations and discussions, several of the task’s case studies were also features as part of the REDay Exhibition, which stayed on display until the 11th
October. This exhibition was a showcase of best practice renovation projects and programmes which can prove that energy renovation is not only possible, but already happening across the world. On the task’s part, we showcased Scottish renovated buildings as well as the work done in Villa Castelli, Italy, which is using 90% less energy! EURAC’s Daniel Herrera gave a presentation on the development of the ATLAS project database at the conference before the opening of the exhibition.

The evening of 7th October saw the launch of the Renovate Europe exhibition, which was displayed until the 11th. This featured several of Task59’s case studies.

BHÖ conference – 16th-17th October

This conference from mid-October, held at the European Congress on the Use, Management and Conservation of Buildings of Historical Value, featured several talks from the project’s partners and relating to Task59. Firstly, we saw two invited speaks amongst our partners: Dr Alexandra Troi of EURAC Research giving an overview of Task59, and Walter Hüttler of e7 energy innovation & engineering speaking on the role of research in the use of renewable energy in historic buildings.

Following this was a parallel session dedicated to Task59 and featuring presentations from project partners under the topics of Best Practices: Engaging Owners in Energy Renovations; Quality Assurance in Energy Retrofits: The Role of Standards and Simulation and Energy Retrofits: Tools for Better Decision-Making.

Julien Borderon of CEREMA giving a presentation on the case study site in Alsace, France (Image @ CEREMA)

In particular, the conference saw CEREMA, in conjunction with STBA, give a presentation at an International Energy Agency event concerning Energy Efficiency. This talk gave details about Task59’s case study site at Alsace, France, a historic timber building. Details were given about the Stable and Traditional Building Alliance’s Guidance Wheel, a system developed to show more than fifty measures that can be used for the retrofitting or refurbishment of traditional buildings. For a more in-depth look at the presentations from this project meeting, you can head to our website’s video page.

Pictured above is Alexandra Troi of EURAC Research speaking about energy retrofit best practice the for IEA-SHC’s YouTube channel (Image © IEA-SHC)

Solar Heating and Cooling 2019 conference in Santiago de Chile

This international conference organised by the International Energy Agency – Solar Heating and Cooling programme took place from the 4th to 7th November this year. Our colleagues at EURAC research were in attendance and spoke about the touring exhibition, showcasing examples of best practice of energy retrofit under Task59. Videos of Dr Troi speaking about Task59 and the project's output can be found on IEA-SCH's YouTube channel. Another video featuring Alexandra discussing the ATLAS platform will be available soon.

PARTNER FOCUS Historic Environment Scotland

SubTask D  Edinburgh, Scotland

Technical researchers and disseminators at Historic Environment Scotland (Image @ HES)

Historic Environment Scotland’s role for Task59 is within Subtask D, regarding the dissemination of project-related information, such as: past and upcoming events; interaction via social media platforms, Twitter and Facebook; upkeeping the project’s website and creating these newsletters.

Roger Curtis, pictured on the left, is a chartered Building Surveyor with a background in construction work on historic and traditional buildings. He works in the Technical Research team at Historic Environment Scotland and his work includes trials and demonstrations relating to energy efficiency in older buildings; climate change adaptation; the use and specification of traditional materials and emergency repair work.

Vanessa Glindmeier, pictured on the right, has a MSc in Heritage and Cultural tourism management. Starting her career with Historic Environment Scotland in 2017 as Business support in the Conservation Directorate, she is now a Project Officer in the Technical Research team for (EU) – Climate Change related projects.

Historic Environment Scotland can be contacted at  

Task 59 Meetings & workshops 2019

Project partner meeting in Vienna, Climate Heritage Network Launch in Edinburgh and Sustainable Living in Glasgow. 

Project partners discussing project dissemination in Vienna. 
Project Partner meeting in Vienna

It was very encouraging to see so many of the project’s partners and associates in attendance in order to come together to discuss knowledge sharing and dissemination. It also provided a platform for fascinating presentations from colleagues from all over Europe. Highlights include presentations about best practices and engaging owners and energy renovations; the role of standards in quality assurance and tools that can be used for better decision making in retrofit and renovation. 

Sustainable Living Glasgow West

Historic Environment Scotland’s Dr Moses Jenkins spoke about how to improve the energy efficiency of older residential buildings at this event on the 14th November. Owners of older properties in Scotland were encouraged to attend to help make their homes more environmentally friendly. Speakers from the Energy Saving trust and Home Energy Scotland were also in attendance.

Climate Heritage Network launch event

October saw the launch of the Climate Heritage Network, an international group committed to promoting the role of heritage in climate change adaptation. The launch day included several talks including sessions on the potential of cultural heritage in enhancing European national and regional adaptation plans; incorporating cultural heritage into city and local climate action planning and pondering the relevance of cultural heritage. It also invited participants in attendance to interactively answer questions and give views that would inform the network’s action plan, which is being launched in early December. HES’s Climate Change team helped to organise the event and EURAC are also signed up as members, with Franziska Haas acting as the representative. We are very glad to be a part of this network that is mobilising and informing policy on energy efficiency and climate change across Europe and beyond.

EVENT LISTINGS from across the world

Forthcoming events on energy-related renovations of historic buildings

The Engine Shed in Stirling, Scotland, will host HES's Energy Effiency Seminar (Image @ HES)

Enery Efficiency Seminar, Stirling, 6th-7th February 2020

Historic Environment Scotland will be hosting this event at The Engine Shed in Stirling with international speakers and attendees concerning energy efficiency in historic and traditional residential buildings in Scotland.  You can find the event leaflet here, and keep an eye on #EngineShed_EES2020 for updates and details.

Registration for tickets is now available! Please check out our Eventbrite page.

ISES Webinar on Historic Buildings, January 2020

This webinar will be held in January and will aim to show owners, architects and other invested parties how they can use the outcomes from Task59. Several partners will be participating in this, including Alexandra Troi guiding the proceedings and talks from Walter Hüttler, Pavel Sevela, Daniel Herrera and Tor Broström. Videos from the ITAS will also be featured. For more information, check out this website.


Adapt Northern Heritage Conference, May 2020

Several of our project partners will be involved in this conference next spring, including HES as part of the organising team and speakers from Eruac and Uppsala. This conference marks the end of the project and will feature discussions on the adaptation of historic places in the face of climate change, especially in the World's Northern regions. A two-day conference will feature poster and oral presentations, followed by site visits on the thirsd day. Tickets are now available on their Eventbrite page

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!

Please forward this free newsletter to those of your colleagues who might be interested in subscribing to our newsletter
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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