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Task 59 Newsletter Autumn 2020

You have received this free email newsletter because you have subscribed to it to receive news about the project Renovating Historic Buildings Towards Zero Energy (HistoricNZEB).

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 the project’s latest case studies added to the HiBERATLAS platform, our new blog posts, and updates on the project’s meetings and workshops.

On behalf of all the project’s partners and associates, we would like to thank you for subscribing!


Task 59 Final Conference

Just to remind everyone, and a date for your diaries, from the 14th to the 16th April 2021, the SBE21 Heritage Conference will bring together experts working in the fields of energy efficiency and historic building conservation to foster multidisciplinary dialogues and find new affordable and efficient retrofit approaches for historic buildings and municipalities. Scholars and practitioners worldwide have submitted a range of papers and are looking forward to sharing their contributions. Further information and link to the sign up can be found on the conference website

The call for abstracts was closed successfully after receiving almost 90 contributions from 16 countries. Subject to COVID-19 this will be an in-person event and we hope for many more. The date will stay the same if the decision is taken to make this an online event.
FEATURE 7th Expert Meeting

Task59 experts met for the 7th expert meeting last month. During the online meeting, updates about the progress of the subtasks was given and many matters discussed. The number of case studies on the HiBERATLAS was considered and is looking good. The next expert meeting is planned in Bolzano/Bozen, Italy, with the Heritage Conference SBE21 described above following on.


Latest Cases

The current beta version of HiBERATLAS has made a real leap. It now includes 30 case studies, with more coming soon. Today we are presenting four of the new cases added to the website. Please continue to check back as new projects and feature are added to the platform; four are featured below:

Timber-framed barn in the north of France

This timber-framed building is located in Saint-Samson-la-Poterie in the Oise region (northern France), over Paris, and especially in the natural region called "Pays de Bray". It was the barn of a landlord housing of the 17th century and it has recently been retrofitted and restored by the owner himself. A careful work on the materials and on the execution was made. The barn is one of the case studies of the CREBA (French knowledge center for responsible retrofit of heritage building) website.

House Maurer, Wolfurt, Austria

The owner managed to renovate the building in a way, which kept the outer appearance. The hole faced and situation of the roof were kept. The main house did not change much while the extension changed in function and design to a more modern part of the building. All windows were exchanged by wooden windows, which all have good thermal values. The living area changed from a 4 flat house of 370m² for in average 5 person to a 7 flat house for 12 residents. The heating requirement before renovation was 142 kWh/m²a and could be reduced to a quarter of this. A thermal solar system now supports the former heating system of gas.

Ryesgade 30 A-C, Denmark

This typical residential building from the end of the 19th century, was outdated and in need for renovation. The indoor climate was poor and the energy consumption quite high. After a renovation that included new windows, thermal insulation on walls and ceiling, improved air-tightness, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, and photovoltaic, the building achieved a 63% reduction in energy demand.

NEW BLOG POSTS - updated monthly!

SBE21 Heritage conference, the final event of Task59
D. Herrera, A. Troi, EURAC Research

This blog is an update about the upcoming SBE21 Heritage Conference. It includes the most important dates as well as the contributions we can expect at the conference. These are from international projects, as well as many topics such as best practice examples, renovating historic buildings towards zero energy and renewable energy integration. To find out more, download this summary of the conference here.

Old buildings can’t be energy efficient, right? –
L. Angelaka, Historic Environment Scotland

This blog considers energy retrofit measures for traditional buildings. This is considered with one of the Refurbishment Case Studies from Historic Environment Scotland, Holyrood Park Lodge in Edinburgh. The retrofit measures included insulation to the walls and floor and double glazing units in existing frames. The energy efficiency was improved by 83% without the loss of the historic fabric or any loss of character to the building. To read about the improvements, download the blog here.


This subtask is looking at solutions for the insulation of walls and includes 38 example solutions. The outcomes will include two papers as well as a report including three detailed assessments. The papers are looking at the integrated approach of conservation-compatible retrofit solutions as well as one providing evidence-based guidelines for improving the performance of walls. 

The windows group is looking at solutions for the retrofit of these important elements within the building fabric. Possible retrofit measures on the window are documented in a systematic way and evaluated according to their invasiveness, from a small to a profound intervention in the substance and appearance of the component. It refers to the three most common historical window typologies: single, coupled and box-type windows, as not every renovation solution is applicable to every typology. The group, consisting of partners from Aalborg Universitet, Politecnico di Milano, Cerema, Universität Innsbruck and EURACresearch, is currently looking at 17 solutions, with more to come to inform their report.

Looking at solar panels in the historic environment, this subtask has 36 examples in their report. These are assessed via specific criteria, with three of them serving as examples for a detailed assessment. The group is currently working on finalising the paper, looking at the solutions in the context of the EN-16883:2017 standard.

This subtask is looking at integrated ventilation systems in historic buildings and how they can be compatible with the retrofit projects as well as indoor air quality. They are basing their assessment on 43 solutions, with more on the way and are writing a paper titled ‘Integration of energy efficient ventilation systems in historic buildings’.

IEA - SHC Task 59 Events:

Refurbishment of Traditional and Historic Properties, online – 20 October 2020
Roger Curtis from HES delivered a zoom presentation to the Southern Upland Partnership on the refurbishment of traditional properties and its role in the NZEB project. The talk is available in recorded format on Youtube.
Workshop: Responsible restoration of old buildings, Chambery – 17 November 2020
As part of the ATLAS project, the French partner “Sites & Cités remarquables de France” - with the support - of other institutions is carrying out a workshop on the energy renovation of historic trans-alpine buildings. The public workshop focuses on tools and methods to help renovate old structures in this area. The ATLAS expert meeting will happen in the two days after the workshop.

The workshop will be in French and translated into English. To find out more and book, please go to the ATLAS website.

Seminar: Fabric Monitoring for Traditional Buildings, online – 26 November 2020
Organised by HES, the seminar will consider different types of building performance monitoring that can help to inform a retrofit project. It will focus principally on hygrothermal monitoring and the measurement of U-values, along with air leakage and thermographic survey techniques. To find out more and to register go to the Eventbrite page of the event.

EVENT LISTINGS from across the world


HINDSIGHT 2020, Edmonton, online – 01-07 October 2020
HINDSIGHT 2020, organised by the National Trust for Canada and the Association for Preservation Technologies International (APT) looked at the role of heritage in the 21st century in face of climate change and sustainability. The conference was accompanied by a workshop. Lila Angelaka from Historic Environment Scotland talked about one of the HiBERATLAS case studies, Holyrood Park Lodge and the retrofit measures undertaken there.
STBA/SPAB 2020 Conference, 06-13 October 2020
This conference was split into three parts over three half days. The first looked at embodied carbon connected to historic buildings, as well as choices for retrofit materials. The second considerd heritage and craft skills and training and futureproofing the industry. This included a talk about building skills for net zero, connecting to the session on day 1. The last considered the topic underpinning all of this, research such as surveys, life cycle assessment and retrofit analysis.


Culture x Climate 2020 – 12 October- 27 November 2020
This is a virtual global forum for arts, culture and heritage-based climate action. It offers an online array of visionary panel sessions and a series of informative webinars and action-oriented forums. Over a 45-day period, attendees will have access to a variety of virtual formats to accommodate different topics, time zones, and languages.

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 would 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 Twitter and now LinkedIn. 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 © 2020 The 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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HNZEB · c/o Historic Environment Scotland · Longmore House, Salisbury Place · Edinburgh, Scotland EH91SH · United Kingdom

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