Photo: Jennie Sjöholm View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Smart energy efficiency of historic buildings in cold climates

Published: 6 February 2013

This project is now launched by Professor Kristina L. Nilsson within research subject Architecture. The results of the research will be useful for both large and small property owners

In northern Sweden, we do have as many castles and churches as is common in southern Sweden. However, there are many historical buildings in wood. In order to preserve these in an energy efficient manner without removing the historical legacy requires smart new approaches, materials and methods. Many of these old wooden house was not built to be kept warm in winter, since the oil crisis in the 70s, the heating costs have become an increasing problem.

Examples of buildings in northern Sweden. Photo: Jennie Sjöholm.

In this research project the University will develop a proactive knowledge base in order to preserve our old buildings at reasonable costs on a long-term and sustainable way without destroying the architectural and cultural value. The research group in Timber Structures in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural resources engineering will help with building technical knowledge.

Researchers at Gotland University are studying the same thing in southern Sweden, while the research team in Luleå stands for the subarctic climate zone studies. Historical buildings of different types and structures are selected in some places in the North., Mainly in Kiruna and Malmberget. First we develop new solutions, which are calculated and simulated for the different test houses. Then new solutions with innovative insulation materials and methods are implemented, and then the insulation value is measured again. The results will be presented in reports and a thesis. The project moves the boundary between architecture, building and construction issues.

LTU Press photo - Professor Kristina L Nilsson -
Professor Kristina L Nilsson

- Hopefully even individuals to use the applications we will study says Kristina L. Nilsson. That's the dream of every homeowner, to reduce their heating bills, she concludes.

However, local authorities and housing associations who have most to gain from an energy efficiency in historical buildings.

The project is financed by the Swedish Energy Agency in Research and Development Programme "Save and Preserve" and The Centre of Excellence Hjalmar Lundbohm Research Center at Luleå University of Technology, which accounts for 50% each. The project will run for two years. A new PhD student will be recruited to the research subject Architecture for this project.