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The participants to Workstream 6 of the URBACT 2012 Capitalisation process will be responsible for the animation of Workshop Sessions at the Conference in Copenhagen. Our intention is establish 4 thematic table run by 4 of our core group members: Kleopatra Theologidou, J Owen Lewis, Paul Ciniglio and Emilio D’Alessio. Each of them will deal with a specific dimension of “Building energy efficiency in European cities”, according to an outline paper that will be distributed to the participants. we will split the 2 hours workshop sessions in 4 30′ sets, so that each participant to the BEEEC workshop will seat at each of the 4 tables. Kleopatra Theologidou, who is a.o. representing the city of Veria the URBACT LINKS Network, has prepared an outline paper we are going to discuss in our next meeting, next week in Milan.  

Veria historic centre

What can cities do to improve energy efficiency in historic buildings?

Historic centres are the heart of the cities, they play central role to the character, the identity and the potential for economic development and welfare of the cities and at the same time they are areas with economic, environmental, climate and social challenges.

Historic buildings hold a central role to their character and appearance. In order to keep historic centres alive, historic and traditional buildings need to be alive, which means fully and properly used. However, due to their historic values a lot of restrictions often exist when retrofitting works are planned to be done. As a result, a large amount of building stock remains abandoned, misused or inhabited by specific groups of population, thus causing degradation and segregation. And finally what is an advantage for a city often turns to be a problem.

What policy levers and what resources can cities use to tackle these challenges?

Do they need to adopt “Local public strategies”, in the frame of an integrated approach? Which are the major initiatives they could take?

Heritage versus energy efficiency: still a conflict?

What initiatives can cities take to bring together actors responsible for planning and building control as well as for built heritage, in order to work together and decide upon a common base of acceptable actions and methodologies? In this context, is there also a case that energy standards for historic buildings could be adopted at a European, National or Local level?

Historic and traditional buildings have a different thermal behaviour in comparison to modern constructions, due to their building technology, their form and architecture. Even among them there are many differences depending on the time period and place of construction. Additionally, values differ from building to building resulting to the different degree of alterations to be permitted. As a result, there are no “one-size-fits-all” solutions; is it realistic to talk about standards and certificates? All above cause long lasting bureaucratic procedures for getting approvals and discourage owners to do any works. Therefore, how can cities face this problem?

What sort of support can cities offer to the owners and tenants in order to retrofit their historic houses?  

Historic centres cannot be effectively protected if owners or tenants are not supported to refurbish their houses properly. Especially, in the case of low income families any action appears to be impossible.

It seems that financial support, technical support and administrative support offered by the city could create strong motivations. What possibilities have cities and which tools are available to offer this support?

Is it possible the financial support to bridge the increase of refurbishment cost due to the additional works for the improvement of energy performance of historic buildings? Or what other possibilities for financing could cities promote?

How could cities transfer knowledge? Are there any smart tools?

In which ways could cities offer administrative support?

How can cities further mobilize citizens to retrofit their historic buildings?

It is broadly recognised that citizens participation to all planning procedures play central role to the success of a plan. Moreover, lack of awareness for the benefits of investing on built heritage and on the improvement of its energy performance or different standards of life are the reasons for reluctances to refurbishment actions.

It seems that participatory procedures with active involvement of owners and tenants could raise awareness and positively mobilize them. Is it possible the real participation? Which are the pros and cons?

In the new programming period 2014-2020 in the context of cohesion policy, sustainable urban development should be implemented through integrated strategies that will tackle the economic, environmental, climate and social challenges. More responsibilities and opportunities will be given to cities to design and implement fully integrated strategies. The combination of actions financed by ERDF, ESF and CF open new horizons and give new possibilities[1]. Therefore, it is important for cities to become competent in order to take advantage of this policy. Energy efficiency of historic buildings is part of this policy, if it is seen in an integrated manner. The discussion on the different alternatives and possibilities will mostly help cities to build their policies.

Questions

Heritage versus energy efficiency: still a conflict?

  • What initiatives can cities take to succeed a common base of acceptable actions and methodologies?
  • Is there also a case that energy standards for historic buildings could be adopted at a European, National or Local level?

What sort of support can cities offer to the owners and tenants in order to retrofit their historic houses?

  • What other possibilities for financing could cities promote?
  • How could cities transfer knowledge? Are there any smart tools?
  • In which ways could cities offer administrative support?

How can cities further mobilize citizens to retrofit their historic buildings?

What other actions or initiatives would you recommend cities to take in order to promote the improvement of the energy efficiency of historic buildings?

The participants to the table will be kindly asked to give a mark to the questions, according to their interest, which will determine the sequence they will be discussed.

Kleopatra Theologidou

Dipl. Architect engineer, MA Conservation Studies,

City of Veria, Greece, Mayor’s Scientific Associate


[1] European Commission, Cohesion Policy, Integrated Sustainable Urban Development

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