The member states of European Union have committed themselves to saving 20 percent of their primary energy consumption by 2020 and thus reduce CO2 emissions. Accordingly, a main focus of Europe’s effort is to increase the energy efficiency of buildings. Historic buildings and districts have so far received little attention. The EFFESUS project is therefore to investigate all energy related aspects relevant to historic buildings and urban districts. The project will consider both the energy efficiency of individual buildings, building ensembles and districts, as well as energy generation from renewable sources within historic urban districts. The concept behind the EFFESUS is to reduce the environmental impact of Europe’s valuable urban heritage by making significant improvements to its energy efficiency and thereby improving its sustainability while conserving and even promoting the architectural, cultural, historic and urban values of Europe’s historic cities.

The overall objective of EFFESUS is to develop and demonstrate, through seven case studies, a methodology and criteria for selecting and prioritising energy efficiency interventions, based on existing and new, costeffective technologies and systems compatible with heritage values, to achieve significant lifecycle energy efficiency improvements in the retrofitting of historic districts.

The four main scientific objectives are:

  1. Categorisation of European historic districts and development of a multiscale data model
  2. Evaluation, development and implementation of cost-effective technologies and systems for significantly improving energy efficiency in historic districts
  3. Development of a methodology and a software tool to assess energy retrofitting interventions in historic districts
  4. Overcoming technical and nontechnical barriers for the implementation of project results

The main output of the project will be a Decision Support System (DSS), a software tool, which includes all the parameters needed to select suitable energy efficiency interventions for historic districts.