Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 6

Historic Buildings Related Abstracts

6 Regenerating Historic Buildings: Policy Gaps

Authors: Joseph Falzon, Margaret Nelson

Abstract:

Background: Policy makers at European Union (EU) and national levels address the re-use of historic buildings calling for sustainable practices and approaches. Implementation stages of policy are crucial so that EU and national strategic objectives for historic building sustainability are achieved. Governance remains one of the key objectives to ensure resource sustainability. Objective: The aim of the research was to critically examine policies for the regeneration and adaptive re-use of historic buildings in the EU and national level, and to analyse gaps between EU and national legislation and policies, taking Malta as a case study. The impact of policies on regeneration and re-use of historic buildings was also studied. Research Design: Six semi-structured interviews with stakeholders including architects, investors and community representatives informed the research. All interviews were audio recorded and transcribed in the English language. Thematic analysis utilising Atlas.ti was conducted for the semi-structured interviews. All phases of the study were governed by research ethics. Findings: Findings were grouped in main themes: resources, experiences and governance. Other key issues included identification of gaps in policies, key lessons and quality of regeneration. Abandonment of heritage buildings was discussed, for which main reasons had been attributed to governance related issues both from the policy making perspective as well as the attitudes of certain officials representing the authorities. The role of authorities, co-ordination between government entities, fairness in decision making, enforcement and management brought high criticism from stakeholders along with time factors due to the lengthy procedures taken by authorities. Policies presented an array from different perspectives of same stakeholder groups. Rather than policy, it is the interpretation of policy that presented certain gaps. Interpretations depend highly on the stakeholders putting forward certain arguments. All stakeholders acknowledged the value of heritage in regeneration. Conclusion: Active stakeholder involvement is essential in policy framework development. Research informed policies and streamlining of policies are necessary. National authorities need to shift from a segmented approach to a holistic approach.

Keywords: Sustainable, Policy, Historic Buildings, adaptive re-use

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5 Reuse of Historic Buildings for Tourism: Policy Gaps

Authors: Joseph Falzon, Margaret Nelson

Abstract:

Background: Regeneration and re-use of abandoned historic buildings present a continuous challenge for policy makers and stakeholders in the tourism and leisure industry. Obsolete historic buildings provide great potential for tourism and leisure accommodation, presenting unique heritage experiences to travellers and host communities. Contemporary demands in the hospitality industry continuously require higher standards, some of which are in conflict with heritage conservation principles. Objective: The aim of this research paper is to critically discuss regeneration policies with stakeholders of the tourism and leisure industry and to examine current practices in policy development and the resultant impact of policies on the Maltese tourism and leisure industry. Research Design: Six semi-structured interviews with stakeholders involved in the tourism and leisure industry participated in the research. A number of measures were taken to reduce bias and thus improve trustworthiness. Clear statements of the purpose of the research study were provided at the start of each interview to reduce expectancy bias. The interviews were semi-structured to minimise interviewer bias. Interviewees were allowed to expand and elaborate as necessary, with only necessary probing questions, to allow free expression of opinion and practices. Interview guide was submitted to participants at least two weeks before the interview to allow participants to prepare for the interview and prevent recall bias during the interview as much as possible. Interview questions and probes contained both positive and negative aspects to prevent interviewer bias. Policy documents were available during the interview to prevent recall bias. Interview recordings were transcribed ‘intelligent’ verbatim. Analysis was carried out using thematic analysis with the coding frame developed independently by two researchers. All phases of the study were governed by research ethics. Findings: Findings were grouped in main themes: financing of regeneration, governance, legislation and policies. Other key issues included value of historic buildings and approaches for regeneration. Whist regeneration of historic buildings was noted, participants discussed a number of barriers that hindered regeneration. Stakeholders identified gaps in policies and gaps at policy implementation stages. European Union funding policies facilitated regeneration initiatives but funding criteria based on economic deliverables presented the intangible heritage gap. Stakeholders identified niche markets for heritage tourism accommodation. Lack of research-based policies was also identified. Conclusion: Potential of regeneration is hindered by inadequate legal framework that supports contemporary needs of the tourism industry. Policies should be developed by active stakeholder participation. Adequate funding schemes have to support the tangible and intangible components of the built heritage.

Keywords: Governance, Tourism, Policy, Historic Buildings

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4 Thermal Comfort in Office Rooms in a Historic Building with Modernized Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems

Authors: Mathias Cehlin, Hossein Bakhtiari, Jan Akander

Abstract:

Envelopes with low thermal performance is a common characteristic in many European historic buildings which leads to higher energy demand for heating and cooling as well as insufficient thermal comfort for the occupants. This paper presents the results of a study on the thermal comfort in the City Hall (Rådhuset) in Gävle, Sweden. This historic building is currently used as an office building. It is equipped with two relatively modern mechanical heat recovery ventilation systems with displacement ventilation supply devices in the offices. The district heating network heats the building via pre-heat supply air and radiators. Summer cooling comes from an electric heat pump that rejects heat into the exhaust ventilation air. A building management system controls HVAC equipment (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). The methodology is based on on-site measurements, data logging on the management system and evaluating the occupants’ perception of a summer and a winter period indoor environment using a standardized questionnaire. The main aim of the study is to investigate whether or not it is enough to have modernized HVAC systems to get adequate thermal comfort in a historic building with poor envelope performance used as an office building in Nordic climate conditions.

Keywords: Thermal comfort, Historic Buildings, on-site measurements, standardized questionnaire

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3 Fires in Historic Buildings: Assessment of Evacuation of People by Computational Simulation

Authors: Ivana R. Moser, Joao C. Souza

Abstract:

Building fires are random phenomena that can be extremely violent, and safe evacuation of people is the most guaranteed tactic in saving lives. The correct evacuation of buildings, and other spaces occupied by people, means leaving the place in a short time and by the appropriate way. It depends on the perception of spaces by the individual, the architectural layout and the presence of appropriate routing systems. As historical buildings were constructed in other times, when, as in general, the current security requirements were not available yet, it is necessary to adapt these spaces to make them safe. Computer models of evacuation simulation are widely used tools for assessing the safety of people in a building or agglomeration sites and these are associated with the analysis of human behaviour, makes the results of emergency evacuation more correct and conclusive. The objective of this research is the performance evaluation of historical interest buildings, regarding the safe evacuation of people, through computer simulation, using PTV Viswalk software. The buildings objects of study are the Colégio Catarinense, centennial building, located in the city of Florianópolis, Santa Catarina / Brazil. The software used uses the variables of human behaviour, such as: avoid collision with other pedestrians and avoid obstacles. Scenarios were run on the three-dimensional models and the contribution to safety in risk situations was verified as an alternative measure, especially in the impossibility of applying those measures foreseen by the current fire safety codes in Brazil. The simulations verified the evacuation time in situations of normality and emergency situations, as well as indicate the bottlenecks and critical points of the studied buildings, to seek solutions to prevent and correct these undesirable events. It is understood that adopting an advanced computational performance-based approach promotes greater knowledge of the building and how people behave in these specific environments, in emergency situations.

Keywords: Computer Simulation, Fire Safety, Human Behavior, Historic Buildings, escape routes

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2 Infrared Thermography as an Informative Tool in Energy Audit and Software Modelling of Historic Buildings: A Case Study of the Sheffield Cathedral

Authors: Stamatis Zoras, Ademuyiwa Agbonyin, Mohammad Zandi

Abstract:

This paper investigates the extent to which building energy modelling can be informed based on preliminary information provided by infrared thermography using a thermal imaging camera in a walkthrough audit. The case-study building is the Sheffield Cathedral, built in the early 1400s. Based on an informative qualitative report generated from the thermal images taken at the site, the regions showing significant heat loss are input into a computer model of the cathedral within the integrated environmental solution (IES) virtual environment software which performs an energy simulation to determine quantitative heat losses through the building envelope. Building data such as material thermal properties and building plans are provided by the architects, Thomas Ford and Partners Ltd. The results of the modelling revealed the portions of the building with the highest heat loss and these aligned with those suggested by the thermal camera. Retrofit options for the building are also considered, however, may not see implementation due to a desire to conserve the architectural heritage of the building. Results show that thermal imaging in a walk-through audit serves as a useful guide for the energy modelling process. Hand calculations were also performed to serve as a 'control' to estimate losses, providing a second set of data points of comparison.

Keywords: Thermal comfort, Historic Buildings, Energy Modelling, Energy Retrofit, software modelling

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1 Indoor Microclimate in a Historic Library: Considerations on the Positive Effect of Historic Books on the Stability of Indoor Relative Humidity

Authors: Magda Posani, Maria Do Rosario Veiga, Vasco Peixoto De Freitas

Abstract:

The presented research considers the hygrothermal data acquired in the municipal library of Porto. The library is housed in an XVIII century convent and, among all the rooms in the construction, one, in particular, was chosen for the monitoring campaign because of the presence of a great number of historic books. Temperature and relative humidity, as well as CO₂ concentration, were measured for six consecutive months, in the period December 24th - June 24th. The indoor environment of the building is controlled with a heating and cooling system that is turned on only during the opening hours of the library. The ventilation rate is low because the windows are kept closed, and there is no forced ventilation. The micro-climate is analyzed in terms of users’ comfort and degradation risks for historic books and valuable building surfaces. Through a comparison between indoor and outdoor measured hygrothermal data, indoor relative humidity appears very stable. The influence of the hygroscopicity of books on the stabilization of indoor relative humidity is therefore investigated in detail. The paper finally discusses the benefits given by the presence of historic books in libraries with intermittent heating and cooling. The possibility of obtaining a comfortable and stable indoor climate with low use of HVAC systems in these conditions, while avoiding degradation risks for books and historic building components, is further debated.

Keywords: Historic Buildings, Books, relative humidity, hygroscopicity

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