Conservation and reuse of architectural heritage, an approach based on energy efficiency (Determining the process and describing the measures)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Faculty of Architecture, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Tehran University

3 School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


An Example of sustainable conservation is energy management in the reuse of the architectural heritage. Reuse of historical building by an energy efficient approach is found to play a prominent role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and as consequence, yields a dynamic balance between natural and human environments. However, the main challenge is defining the measures improving the energy efficiency, while the reliable performance and controlled destructive interventions are achieved simultaneously. Thinking about how to conservation and reuse historic buildings and how to control climate change makes energy efficiency improvements an inevitable necessity. While an extensive research has been devoted on this topic in the developed countries, the current study is among the first steps in Iran. In this research, it is aimed at obtaining a systematic process and framework of measures conserving the historic buildings and optimizing the energy consumption. In addition to reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and climate change control, the anticipated measures for improving the energy efficiency will lead a sustainable conservation of architectural heritage. Accordingly, in this research, a thorough review and detailed analysis was performed on the processes and measures reported in the literature. In this article, library research method is utilized for data collection and the data are analyzed qualitatively with content analysis strategy. As it is shown in this study, the first steps toward improving the energy efficiency in historic buildings are non-intervention measure, including: A) Increasing user awareness and modifying user energy behavior, which is a qualitative and time-consuming measure. B) Implementing measures benefiting from the principles of climate-compatible architecture; Such as adapting the physical quality, spatial quality, quality of architectural elements and components in the historical buildings at the time of reuse, with the climatic principles used by traditional architects at the time of the construction of the historical buildings. According to the assessments, in the case of required intervention measures in historic buildings, the flowchart of measures to improve energy efficiency should be in the form of a recurring flow, making it possible to review a variety of measures with minimum intervention measures priority. The intervention measures are implemented in the second step which include: A) At first, minimal intervention measures will be taken in the building envelop. Such as: Airtightness windows, installing curtains and awnings and shading to reduce solar gains, Solar Window Films to reduce solar gain and, if the results of the evaluations are not appropriate, in the next step, the envelope is optimized by thermal insulation of the walls, ceiling and floor. B) Evaluation and optimization of the lighting system, which may be limited to minor modifications of the lighting system in the current situation or require the installation or replacement of lighting systems and special lighting with intervention measures. C) If the measures are perceived insufficient by the assessment, it is necessary to conduct the last part of the intervention measures which is dedicated to the installation or optimization of cooling, heating and air conditioning systems compatible with historical buildings.


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