EBC Annex 76 / SHC Task 59 Deep Renovation of Historic Buildings Towards Lowest Possible Energy Demand and CO2 Emissions

Ongoing (2017 - 2021)


In many countries historic buildings represent a significant share of the existing building stock. They are the distinctive features of numerous cities, and will only survive if maintained as living spaces. To preserve this heritage, it is necessary to find conservation-compatible energy retrofit approaches and solutions, which allow the historic and aesthetic values to be maintained while improving comfort, lowering energy costs and minimizing environmental impacts.

Completed examples have shown that reducing the energy demand by 75% may be possible for historic buildings while preserving their heritage value. A considerable reduction in demand - together with optimised use of passive solar design - opens up the possibility of proceeding with an effective solar contribution towards a net zero energy building (NZEB). In this context, the opportunities for using solar energy in historic buildings are far more substantial than one might initially expect, especially if solar panels / collectors are compatible in colour and design, are wisely integrated as to not interfere aesthetically with the building, and their installation is reversible.

To reach the project’s objectives, the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling-led team will co-operate with the IEA Energy in Buildings and Communities and IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Technology Collaboration Programmes. The main target groups to be addressed are building
owners, architects and planners, real estate developers, and also people on the administrative level (urban planners, urban renewal officials, conservation officers).

Project Objectives

  • develop a solid knowledge base on how to save energy in renovation of historic and protected buildings in a cost efficient way and identify the energy saving potential 
  • identify and assess replicable procedures on how experts can work together with integrated design to maintain both the heritage value of  he building and at the same time make it energy efficient and develop tools which support this procedure and its individual steps
  • identify and assess conservation compatible retrofit solutions with a ‘whole building perspective’, specifically identify the potential for the use of solar energy (passive and active, heating, cooling and electricity) and promote best practice solutions

Planned Deliverables

  • a web-based collection and documentation of approximately 50 case studies of best practice from all participating countries,
  • an integrated platform with tools for holistic historic buildings retrofit to support the planning process towards conservation compatible NZEBs,
  • reports on conservation compatible energy retrofit technologies and strategies to achieve high energy and environmental performance.

Operating Agent

Dr Alexandra Troi
Vice Head of Institute
EURAC Research
Institute for Renewable Energy
Viale Druso 1
I-39100 Bolzano
Tel: +39 0471 055 602


Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA