New insulation project will save energy in Europe’s historic buildings

Historic buildings built prior to 1945 make up a significant part of the European building stock. Many of these buildings have great architectonic and cultural value, but they also consume more than 30 % of the total energy consumption of buildings in Europe. Therefore historic buildings are an important focus area in order to reach the ambitious EU climate and energy targets.

Energy-efficient internal insulation of the external walls is a key factor as the architectural and cultural value of the historic buildings must not be compromised. Potentially, 15-20 % of the energy consumption can be saved by installing internal insulation on external walls. However, installing internal insulation in historic buildings without compromising the buildings’ cultural and architectural heritage can also be subject to a certain risk of failure and high costs. From 2015 till the end of 2019 the EU research project RIBuild will investigate how internal thermal insulation can be employed in a secure and robust way.

“Many historic buildings are retrofitted with insulation, but often the insulation creates new problems such as moisture damage. We need knowledge on how to handle internal insulation in historic buildings,” says project coordinator and senior researcher Ernst Jan de Place Hansen from the Danish Building Research Institute at Aalborg University Copenhagen.

Guidelines for robust internal insulation

Ten research institutions and companies from Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland contribute to the RIBuild project. In this way RIBuild covers diverse climates and building traditions which will result in guidelines that can be applied to historic buildings all over Europe.

“Each type of building has specific characteristics that need to be addressed. The guidelines developed in the RIBuild project will help practitioners to determine whether a building is suitable for internal insulation and which solution to choose,” says Ernst Jan de Place Hansen.

Join the RIBuild network

RIBuild invites all national trade associations, trade media and other relevant networks in Europe to join the RIBuild network.

“The local networks play an important role in disseminating the newest knowledge about improving energy efficiency of historic buildings in Europe. By joining the network organisations and media have the opportunity to bring their members or audiences in the lead of improving energy efficiency of historic buildings. We hope as many as possible will join,” says Ernst Jan de Place Hansen. 22 network partners have already joined RIBuild. Join the network at www.ribuild.eu/network.

For more information about RIBuild:

Denmark: RIBuild project coordinator and senior researcher Ernst de Place Hansen, Danish Building Research Institute, Aalborg University Copenhagen (Phone: +45 9940 2229, email:ejp@sbi.aau.dk).

Belgium: Associate Professor Hans Janssen, KU Leuven (Phone: +32 1632 1326,Hans.Janssen@bwk.kuleuven.be)

Germany: Professor Dr.Ing. John Grunewald, Technische Universität Dresden (phone: +49 351 463-37044 john.grunewald@tu-dresden.de).

Italy: Professor Marco D'Orazio, Marche Polytechnic University (m.dorazio@univpm.it, (+39) 071 220 1).

Latvia: Professor Andra Blumberga, Riga Tehcnical University (Andra.Blumberga@rtu.lv)

Sweden: Researcher Carl-Magnus Capener, SP Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut  (Phone: +46 105165852, Carl-Magnus.Capener@sp.se)

Switzerland: Researcher Sébastien Lasvaux, University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland (sebastien.lasvaux@heig-vd.ch).

More about the RIBuild research