Sustainable interventions in historic buildings: A developing decisionmaking tool
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Integrating multi-criteria approaches for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while, at the same time, ensuring long-term maintenance of existing buildings, is a challenge that needs to be faced by both the present and future generations. The core objective of this paper is to integrate a life cycle approach within the framework of building conservation principles to help decision makers dealing with “green” maintenance and adaptation interventions of historic buildings. The proposed approach identifies conservation principles to respect, it considers low, medium, high levels of intervention, and it analyses the impact of interventions in terms of emissions and energy consumptions that should be compensated – while the historic building is in use – with on-site renewables. The method, in the whole, allows the comparison of different intervention scenarios and the selection of the most sustainable one over a long-term management perspective of the historic building. The benefits are twofold: under the conservative perspective, for helping in choosing the right time of interventions, in reducing the decay rate, in using materials that endure longer and are compatible with existing fabrics; under the environmental perspective, for helping in reducing the carbon footprint, in supporting conservation needs through a minimal intervention approach, and in encouraging materials reuse and renewable energy systems.