• NOAH´S ARK (2001-2007)

    Global Climate Change Impact on Built Heritage and Cultural Landscape


    Climate change over the next 100 years will likely have a range of direct and indirect effects on the natural and material environment, including also the historic built environment. Important changes will be alterations in temperature, precipitation, extreme climatic events, soil conditions, groundwater and sea level. Some processes of building decay will be accelerated or worsened by climate change, while others will be delayed. The impacts on individual processes can be described, but it is difficult to assess the overall risk posed by climate change using currently available data. Linking global changes to the response of material surfaces of archaeological and historic structures remains a challenge.


    • to determine the meteorological parameters and changes most critical to the built cultural heritage,
    • to research, predict and describe the effects of climate change on Europe´s built cultural heritage over the next 100 years,
    • to develop mitigation and adaptation strategies for historic buildings, sites, monuments and materials that are likely to be worst affected by climate change effects and associated disasters,
    • to disseminate information on climate change effects and the optimum adaptation strategies for adoption by Europe´s cultural heritage managers through a conference and guidelines,
    • to provide electronic information sources and tools, including web-based Climate Risk Maps and a Vulnerability Atlas for heritage managers to assess the threats of climate change in order to visualize the built heritage and cultural landscape under future climate scenarios and model the effects of different adaptation strategies,
    • to advise policy-makers and legislators through the project´s Policy Advisory Panel.

    The results will allow the prediction of the impact of climate and pollution on cultural heritage and investigation of the response of materials and structures of the historic built environment to future climate scenarios on a European scale. The outcome will allow the definition of guidelines and adaptation strategies, leading to possible amendments in EC Directives.

    The output of NOAH´S ARK will underpin the following gaps existing in current EU policy:

    • inclusion of Cultural Heritage Protection as a prerequisite for implementing sustainable development,
    • inclusion of immovable Cultural Heritage in the indicators for integrated assessment,
    • favouring of dialogue between Air quality and Climate change Programmes, providing input to the Environment Action Programme within areas of Climate change and Quality of life.



    Prof. Cristina Sabbioni
    Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (ISAC)
    National Research Council (CNR)
    Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
    email: c.sabbioni [at]
    Project website: Noahs´s Ark
  • SMooHS (2008-2011)

    Smart Monitoring of Historic Structures


    Historic structures constitute important part of our cultural heritage which we in turn have a duty to pass to future generations in the full richness of their authentic architecture and materials. The conservation of these structures presents a fascinating and diverse range of scientific challenges; in particular the need to protect them effectively from the environmental degradation is widely recognised. Diagnostic monitoring so far has been largely limited to acquisition of climate parameters and air pollution levels used as input into functions or models predicting damage. The limitations of the approach in assessing precisely the risk of damage to a concrete historic structure in its specific environment lead inevitably to a search for scientific methods of direct tracing damage: noninvasive, continuous, simple, economic and capable of operating in the real-world conditions.


    • to develop smart monitoring system using wireless networks of miniature, robust sensors for minimally invasive installation at historic structures to monitor temperature, humidity, air velocity, strain and crack opening, acoustic emissions, vibration, ambient or UV light levels, or chemical attack,
    •  to provide smart data processing based on the built-in material deterioration models which would warn owners and conservation professionals about threats, and produce recommendations for action,
    •  to develop user-friendly, modular and open source software which can be continuously updated and broadened to handle specific questions arising at objects, steer various combinations of sensors, be open for extensions in the future.


    Dr. Markus Krüger
    c/o Material Testing Institute MPA, University of Stuttgart
    P.O. 801140
    D-70511 Stuttgart; Germany
    email: markus.krueger [at]
    Project website: SMooHS

  • EU Chic (2009-2012)

    European Cultural Heritage Identity Card


    The aim of the project is to set-up a system of the »Cultural Heritage Identity Card« (CHIC), which will introduce a systematic collection and storage of data on the immovable heritage objects across European and neighboring countries. The main objective is to develop and test the guidelines needed for the efficient compilation of the data pertinent to each monument under observation. The system of CHIC will support sustainable maintenance, preventive conservation and rehabilitation of historic sites and monuments. It will assist the application of newly developed strategies, which are designed to evaluate the efficiency and user-friendliness of the approach used for screening the time-varying alteration of heritage buildings caused by human interventions and environmental impacts. The partners of the project will promote and assist the introduction of the CHIC system in their countries and further facilitate its use in the neighbouring countries through their links with governmental authorities responsible for the cultural heritage protection and preservation. The development of the project will be achieved through the activities of four core work packages that will be supported by the coordinative and dissemination work packages.

    Main tasks

    • to review and document current methodologies and tools for data collection and assessment,
    • to develop criteria and indicators for risk assessment, develop guidelines for the future development of methods and tools for collection and storing of the data required for the evaluation of time-varying changes of heritage assets,
    • to consolidate recommendations and strategies adjusted to the particular needs and heritage preservation strategies in different European and neighbouring countries.


    Prof. Dr. Roko Zarnic
    University of Ljubljana
    Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering
    Jamova cesta 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
    Project Website: EU Chic

  • EFFESUS (2012-2016)

    Energy Efficiency for EU Historic Districts’ Sustainability


    EFFESUS is a research project investigating and developing technologies and systems for improving the energy efficiency of European historic urban districts. The term “historic urban district” in EFFESUS is defined as a significant grouping of “old” buildings built before 1945 and representative of the period of their construction or history, not necessarily protected by legislation. EFFESUS is funded by the European Union under its Seventh Framework programme.


    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, for significant life cycle energy efficiency improvements in the rehabilitation of historic districts.

    The four main scientific objectives are:

    • Evaluation, development and implementation of cost effective technologies and systems for significantly improving energy efficiency in historic districts,
    • Categorisation of European historic districts and development of a multiscale data model,
    • Development of a methodology and a software tool to assess energy retrofitting interventions in historic districts,
    • 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.


    Porject Coordinator:
    Dr. Isabel Rodriguez-Maribona
    TECNALIA Research & Innovation, Spain
    Parque Tecnológico de Bizkaia
    C/Geldo, Edificio 700, Spain
    email: isabel.rodriguez-maribona [at]

    Scientific Coordinator:
    Dr. Britta von Rettberg
    Fraunhofer-Institute for Building Physics IBP, Germany
    Fraunhoferstraße 10
    83626 Valley, Germany
    email: kulturerbe [at]
    Project website: Effesus
  • 3ENCULT (2010 - 2014)

    Efficient Energy for EU Cultural Heritage


    Historic buildings are the trademark of numerous European cities, towns and villages: historic quarters give uniqueness to our cities, they are a living symbol of Europe’s rich cultural heritage and reflect society’s identity. Yet, this is also an area where the high level of energy inefficiency is contributing to a huge percentage of greenhouse gas emissions. With climate change posing a real and urgent threat to humanity and its surroundings, also to historic buildings, it is necessary to guide an improved approach to all refurbishment actions in historic buildings.


    The project 3ENCULT bridges the gap between conservation of historic buildings and climate protection, which is not an antagonism at all: historic buildings will only survive if maintained as living space. Energy efficient retrofit is useful for structural protection as well as for comfort reasons - comfort for users and “comfort” for heritage collections. 3ENCULT will demonstrate the feasibility of “Factor 4” to “Factor 10” reduction in energy demand, depending on the case and the heritage value.


    Alexandra Troi
    European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano - Institute for Renewable Energy
    Viale Druso, 1 / Drususallee 1
    39100 Bolzano / Bozen - Italy
    email: alexandra.troi [@]
    Project website: 3encult
  • CEN/TC 346

    CEN Technical Committee for the Conservation of Cultural Property


    A scientific approach is nowadays essential for the conservation of the cultural property as preliminary basis to guarantee a proper planning of ordinary and extraordinary maintenance works, as well as to assure their efficacy and durability. A specific European standardisation activity in the field of conservation of cultural property is essential to acquire a common unified scientific approach to the problems relevant to the preservation and conservation of the cultural property.


    The main objective of CEN/TC 346 is drafting European standards on well-experimented test methods, both in laboratory and in situ which will help conservation professionals in their restoration and conservation work, ensuring at the same time the possibility for European experts to exchange information on test and analyses methods on conservation of cultural property. This standardisation activity will permit to harmonise and unify methodologies for all the European area. The development of standardised test methods will provide the cultural institutions, enterprises and laboratories with correct instruments to carry out their work, improving, at the same time their proficiency and competencies. A close co-operation should be established with European and International non governmental professional organisations dedicated to the conservation of cultural property, such as International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), International Council of Museums (ICOM) or International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM); the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC); the European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers' Organisations (E.C.C.O.).


    The structure of CEN/TC 346 is constituted by 5 Working Groups (WG’s), corresponding to the different main areas for which technical development work has to be done:
    • General Guidelines and Terminology,
    • Materials Constituting Cultural Property,
    • Evaluation of Methods and Products for Conservation Works,
    • Environment,
    • Transportation and Packing Method.


    Dr. Vasco Fassina
    Website: CEN/TC 346