They make up Europe’s unique heritage but many of the continent’s historic buildings are showing their age.
Energy efficiency, in particular, is a problem.
That Is where the European research project 3Encult comes in, bridging the gap between the conservation of historic buildings and climate protection.
Bolzano’s famous Waaghaus in northern Italy has been equipped with sensors to measure temperature and humidity levels inside the building.
“The aim of the 3Encult project is to produce guidelines and solutions on how we can upgrade historic buildings in an energy efficient way bringing together teams of technicians, conservation experts and city planners. The idea is to find the best solution to answer the special requirements of an historic building,” says Alexandra Troi, Scientific Coordinator at 3Encult.
The project has led to the creation of windows specially adapted to the Waaghaus. Their ultra-thin glazing combines energy efficiency with the aesthetics of the building’s original baroque style.
The Palazzina della Viola in Bologna dates back to 1497.
In the past few months it has been the scene of numerous tests to measure anything from temperature to moisture distribution.
“Usually the most critical points in historical buildings are the windows and the window frames. So by reading different pressures inside the room compared to the outside we are able to assess how much air will leak from the building,” says Camilla Colla, Architect and Civil Engineer at the University of Bologna.
After more than a year’s refurbishment, the Palazzina has undergone a brand new energy-efficient make-over, giving it a whole new lease of life for years to come.