The “Historic Cities in Transition, Towards a Sustainable and Resilient Environment” workshop at SP2016 enabled discussions surrounding innovative methodologies, urban data models, and ICT solutions to assist urban managers in improving the sustainability and resilience of historic cities from a multi-scale perspective.

Two papers and two underlying projects (FASUDIR & EFFESSUS) were presented and discussed at SP2016 during WS-1 “Historic Cities in Transition, Towards a Sustainable and Resilient Environment.” They are showcased in the enclosed interactive presentation.

Paper 1: “Historic cities in transition: towards a sustainable and resilient environment”

Aitziber Egusquiza, Alessandra Gandini (Tecnalia, Spain)

The energy consumption in the cities currently exceeds 70% of world energy consumption and in regards to emissions, 75%, – origin mainly from energetic character – are already pro-duced in the urban environment while the occupied surface does not exceed 2%. All this suggests not only the need for energy networks and infrastructures that allow to distribute the necessary energy but also find alternative energy sources and new tools that will reduce consumption and emissions in existing cities.

Paper 2: “Climate change risks reduction in historic cities”

Alessandra Gandini, Rosa San Mateos, Leire Garmendia (Tecnalia, Spain)

The innovation potential of the methodology lies in the definition of context-specific indica-tors/variables for cultural heritage characterization (multilevel/multilayer), vulnerability map-ping and definition of “typologies” with regards to climate change vulnerability/ resilience. The project proposes a holistic strategy incorporating synergies in adaptation and mitigation measures contributing to a more effective advice in the decision making process.

Workshop context

European cities are characterised by a wide range of cultural heritage, which is commonly encountered in what is usually defined as the historic city. In order to support the protection of urban heritage in a constantly changing environment, emphasis needs to be put on the integration of conservation management and planning strategies within wider goals of over-all local sustainable development and urban planning and practice.

Historic cities have a great potential in contributing to the city’s economy by stimulating tourism and enhancing investment climate. Modern conservation strategies should therefore address a balance between urban growth and quality of life in a sustainable way and should match the interrelationships of physical forms, spatial organisation, natural features and social, cultural and economic values. Furthermore, the need to address a new generation of strategies, adapted to new climatic scenarios, should be considered as a priority for an effective management of the whole city.

During last decades, the international community has become aware of the need to adapt to the effects of climate change, as the sensitivity of natural and human systems gained relevance. Europe is one of the most urbanised regions, accounting for a 73% of people living in urban areas a share which, together to the increase of urban land take, has concentrate the fight against climate change in cities, considered as one of the most vulnerable areas.

Workshop Co-Chair – FASUDIR: “Friendly and Affordable Sustainable Urban Districts Retrofitting”

FASUDIR develops new business models and financial supporting tools, to support the necessary building-retrofitting market mobilisation in Europe towards EU-targets in 2020 and 2050. The key instrument will be the Integrated Decision Support Tool (IDST), devel-oped to help decision makers to select the best energy retrofitting strategy to increase the sustainability of the whole district. With stakeholder feedback loops, training, and valida-tion in three diverse urban areas, the IDST will ensure robustness and applicability in the entire value chain.

The IDST Decision making tool

The key instrument will be the Integrated Decision Support Tool (IDST), developed to help decision makers to select the best energy retrofitting strategy to increase the sustainability of the whole district. With stakeholder feedback loops, training, and validation in three di-verse urban areas, the IDST will ensure robustness and applicability in the entire value chain.

The IDST will be based on a decision making methodology, designed to select and prioritise energy efficiency retrofitting interventions. It will implement existing and new cost-effective solutions, for significant sustainable improvements in the rehabilitation of urban districts.

Taking into account the different European urban typologies and the priorities of the deci-sion makers, the methodology will support retrofitting actions that are deployed as a unique intervention, but also scheduling sequential interventions in the most cost-effective way.

This methodology will focus on the initial stage of the retrofitting process at district level, in which the retrofitting framework is established, with the definition of strategies and technological solutions. Ultimately, the IDST will allow selecting the optimal, off-the-shelf technologies and strategies for each specific energy retrofitting project in terms of sustain-ability as a whole (environmental, economic and social).

To ensure usability and effective-ness, the IDST will contain a collection of sustainable retrofitting strategies and technical solutions at building and district level. Each strategy will be characterized according to different aspects, such as adequacy, costs, technical properties, environmental parameters, and so on.

The software will enable modelling the district and building with an adequate level of defi-nition, in such a way that evaluation results will be precise enough, but the input data to define the retrofitting project will be easily supplied. The IDST will feature a 3D graphical user interface, in order to facilitate the interaction between the multiple stakeholders in-volved in the decision making process. 

The traditional approach to the building energy efficient retrofitting brings poor results in relation to the urban sustainability, resource efficiency and economic return. Although the district retrofitting approach is frequently the most sustainable and cost-effective, the complexity of decision making grows exponentially when the intervention targets larger scale, even more when considering the fragmentation of the construction sector. The FASUDIR project was born to develop new business models and financial supporting tools, to support the necessary building-retrofitting market mobilization in Europe to fulfill EU-targets in 2020 and 2050.

FASUDIR Intended Outcomes

The IDST shall be validated in three different European urban developments that are representative of different district typologies that are common in Europe, and especially in need of energy retrofitting initiatives:

 Cultural heritage districts: historic city quarter of Santiago de Compostela, Spain (founded in the XIII century)

 Communist era district from the XX century: Residential district with public buildings in Budapest, Hungary

 Residential districts built up on the 1970’s decade of the 20th century: Hein-richt-Lübke-Siedlung in Frankfurt, Germany

Wherever possible, the validation will be carried out against real data, to compare the results that are provided by the tool with the ones that were achieved by the real retro-fitting project.
The case studies will be crucial to improve the global functionality and the application process of the IDST.

FASUDIR Consortium

 Fundaciόn Tecnalia Research & Innovation Spain (PC)

 University of Applied Science, Munich Germany

 ACCIONA Instalaciones SA Spain

 D’Appolonia S.p.A. Italy

 Integrated Environmental Solutions LtD, UK

 Geonardo Environmental Technologies LtD Hungary

 ABUD Mernokiroda KFT Hungary

 CalCon Deutschland AG Germany

 Consorcio de Santiago Spain

 London Business School United Kingdom

 iiSBE Italia R&D srl Italy

Workshop Co-Chair: EFFESUS

EFFESUS is a research project investigating the energy efficiency of European historic urban districts and developing technologies and systems for its improvement. The term “historic urban district” in the context of 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 pro-tected by heritage legislation. EFFESUS is funded by the European Commission under its Seventh Framework Programme.

EFFESUS consortium

TECNALIA Research & Inno-vation – Spain
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft – Germany
R.E.D. SRL – Italy
Integrated Information Sys-tems (I2S) – Greece
SAMPAŞ Nanotechnology (SNANO) – Turkey
Consortium of the City of Santiago de Compostela (SANTIAGO) – Spain
ACCIONA Infrastructures S.A. – Spain
Uppsala University (UU) – Sweden
Delap & Waller EcoCo Ltd. (DWE) – Ireland
Dennis Rodwell (RODWELL) – United Kingdom
National Research Council – Institute of Atmospheric Sci-ences and Climate (CNR-ISAC) – Italy
University of Stuttgart – Insti-tute of Materials Testing (USTUTT) – Germany
Norwegian University of Sci-ence and Technology (NTNU) – Norway
Historic Environment Scot-land (HES) – United King-dom
Proctor Group Ltd. (APG) – Uinted Kingdom
HOR-BER Ltd. – Hungary
SAS GOUAS – France
Advanced Management Solu-tions Ltd. (AMS) – Greece
Active Aerogels (AA) – Portu-gal


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 build-ings 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 valua-ble 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 criter EFFESUS ia for select-ing and prioritising energy efficiency interventions, based on existing and new, costeffective technologies and systems compatible with heritage values, to achieve significant lifecycle en-ergy efficiency improvements in the retrofitting of historic districts.

The four main scientific objectives of EFFESUS 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 interven-tions in historic districts

4. Overcoming technical and nontechnical barriers for the implementation of project resultsThe
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.

The seven EFFESUS case studies are essential to the research project, as they will, at real scale, demonstrate the suitability of the new technologies developed through EFFESUS as well as validate Decision Support System (DSS), a software tool. The selected cities will be good practice examples to promote the overall use of EFFESUS technologies all over Europe and beyond.