Energy efficiency in heritage buildings : Conservation approaches and their impact on energy efficiency measures

Abstract: The impeding climate change challenge urges for a reduction of energy use in the built environment. Buildings account for nearly 40% of the total energy use and about 35% of the greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. EU member states are required to improve the energy efficiency of the existing building stock, for example by sharpening building regulations and developing enforcement schemes. Since energy efficiency retrofits can affect irreplaceable values in heritage buildings, heritage buildings are often excluded from mandatory demands aiming at reducing the energy use in buildings. However, saving energy have gradually become embraced by the conservation community and heritage buildings with are seen as part of the solution.This licentiate thesis discusses the methods to identify heritage significance in a building and how the underlying theory determines different scenarios in a energy retrofitting process. The choice of conservation theory and conservation approach will affect the success the energy retrofitting process and determine how much the energy use that can be reduced. This thesis therefore suggests a framework to understand the different interpretation of the impacts that one could exert either by having an Objectivistic or Relative conservation value approach.. Based on this framework, a decision-support tool is developed to further detail the impacts of such approaches for different energy measures.Other results show that a majority of reviewed research publications focused on the operational energy in a building and only a few were concerned with energy use over the entire life- cycle of a building. These analyses are used to evaluate where most energy savings can be made, and often pinpoint weak spots in the building’s envelope or technical system. If it was mentioned at all, the influence of cultural and historical factors on energy efficiency measures as applied to heritage buildings tended to be assessed only briefly. Indeed, the majority does not describe conservation principles or even mention the methodology used – if any – for assessing or defining heritage values. Instead, researchers often show an explicit (sometimes an implicit) understanding of conservation as essentially something that is not destructive of original construction material and hence the authenticity of a building.This licentiate thesis is a compilation thesis, consisting of one separate sub-study, one literature review and an extended cover essay. The study is oriented towards a Swedish and European context, especially when it comes to climate conditions and discussions on building regulations and the theory and practice of architectural conservation. It addresses the growing research field of energy efficiency in heritage buildings and the thesis aims to contribute to an increased understanding on how the process of assessment and evaluation of heritage significance in buildings affects the making of heritage buildings more energy efficient. The main research question is: How do different approaches for assessing and evaluating heritage significance in buildings affect possible technical energy saving measures in heritage buildings?