10.12.2018 - UNESCO Venice Office

Innovative Energy-Environmental tools for Sustainable Energy Governance in Built Cultural Heritage

Ferrara Terra e Acqua/Castello Estense

From 11-13 December 2018, a 3-day workshop on “Innovative Energy-Environmental Tools for Sustainable Energy Governance in Built Cultural Heritage” will be held in Ferrara, Italy, at the Castello Estense. During the meeting, UNESCO and its partners will present the innovative geothermal power related solutions for built heritage developed within the framework of the H2020 project Cheap-GSHPs. The event organised by UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, the Green Building Council (GBC) Italia, the Municipality of Ferrara and RemTech Expo (FerraraFiere) will focus on applying sustainable lens to build heritage. This also includes the use of renewables as also in line with the ratio of the UNESCO RENFORUS initiative.

“The world has the tools, the technologies and the wealth to address climate change, but we must show more determination in moving towards a green, clean, sustainable energy future”, remarked the Secretary-General at a press encounter at the UN Headquarters (New York, 2017).

UNESCO promotes education and international cooperation on renewable energy since the establishment of the World Solar Commission in 1995 and more recently the overarching Climate Change Initiative RENFORUS (Renewable Energy Futures for UNESCO Sites) that aims at enhancing and applying the Climate Change knowledge base to building green societies. This involves the sustainable use of renewable energy sources in UNESCO designated Sites (World Heritage properties and Biosphere Reserves).

Since 2012, UNESCO through its Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe supports specific capacity-building activities for UNESCO designated sites, along with highly demonstrative sustainable energy solutions, applied to historical and monumental buildings. It includes the participation of the Bureau in Research and Innovation projects within the framework of the Horizon 2020 Programme, such as “Cheap and Efficient Application of reliable Ground Source Heat Exchangers and PumpS” (Cheap-GSHPs).

The project aims at reducing the total cost of low enthalpy geothermal systems by improving actual drilling/installation technologies and designs of ground source heat exchangers. The outcomes are of relevance to further expand the potential uses of shallow geothermal power systems for heating and cooling purposes. The use of the novel heat pumps for higher temperatures developed within the project can reduce the costs in the market for retrofitting buildings, in particular historical ones. Insights from the demo cases of the project involving historical buildings will provide further evidence of the compatibility of such innovative systems with the requirements of preservation and conservation along with the need for a comfortable environment and a decarbonised economy

Ferrara, ‘City of the Renaissance’, will be host of the conference. It was inscribed in 1995 on the World Heritage list as a "marvellous example of a city designed in the Renaissance, which preserves its historical centre intact and which expresses canons of urban planning that have had a profound influence for the development of urbanism in the following centuries".

The Ferrara workshop will provide evidence on how the preservation of the integrity and authenticity of built cultural heritage may have a more sustainable and efficient use of energy and environmental requirements, including the application of renewable sources when applicable. UNESCO designated sites, such as Ferrara, have the potential to perform as laboratories for the development of good practices to test and use innovative solutions and ideas, inspiring shifts in policies, planning and technology at a world-wide scale.

Structured in 3 sessions, the Ferrara workshop will encompass: a case-based introduction on sustainable energy governance principles and practices; presentation EU project Cheap-GSHPs, along with a specific Decision Support System (DSS) software tool, to be interactively tested; and, highlight of the best state of art environmental and energy certification for historical buildings based on GBC Historic Building™ protocol along with a guided field visit to certified historical buildings of Ferrara.

The buildings referred to are: The architectural restoration of the former prison of Ferrara, converted with a public project in the National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah (MEIS); Palazzo Gulinelli (an important building complex dating back to the 14th century, damaged by the seismic events of May 2012), which has undertaken a consolidation and restoration process and currently hosts a school; and the Castello Estense of Ferrara, one of the most iconic heritage assets of the city. 

With its interdisciplinary approach, the workshop targets conservators, heritage managers and practitioners, and green building and construction chain-industry professionals that are asked to master new capacities and knowledge on how energy-environmental issues and compatible renewable energy solutions, based on a mix of existing and new technologies, can be compatible with heritage values and functional to their preservation.

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