A website for sustainable renovations of historic buildings

Heritage, sustainable retrofitting and energy efficiency specialists from Slovenia, Portugal and the Netherlands, supported by EIT Climate-KIC, have joined forces in a pan-European project on sustainable heritage that is helping to make complex renovation of historic residential buildings easier, more attractive and scalable. In this extensive online toolbox – up until now only available in the Netherlands – heritage house owners in Portugal and Slovenia will be able to find relevant information on how to make their homes more sustainable, including technical solutions, financial opportunities and local heritage regulations. Similarly, the visitor can use easy-to-use calculation tools and find other relevant information on retrofitting opportunities.

Building improvements for energy efficiency are vital to support the global efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. The Covid-19 crisis has moreover shown the importance of investing in the resilience of socio-economic systems and healthy living. This change is connected to the built environment we live, play and work in. Renovation of buildings is therefore an essential measure identified by the European Commission, and in the European Green Deal as a key initiative to deliver on EU and global objectives.

The Green Menu aims to help home owners on their way to a more sustainable built environment, especially those who live in pre-war buildings and buildings that are under heritage protection laws. Historic buildings (built before 1945) account for 10 to 30% of the total building stock and retrofitting them is a particularly complex process, demanding multiple levers of change to be in harmony. For these home owners it is hard to find information that is applicable for their situation or information is spread out over different organizations and websites. Therefore, the Green Menu combines all the information about sustainable measures, financing instruments and regulation on one freely accessible website.

About the collaboration

The work of E-Zavod, Institute for Comprehensive Development Solutions (Slovenia), CENSE, FCT-NOVA University of Lisbon (Portugal) and De Groene Grachten (the Netherlands) manifests in three European locations with different contexts and needs, but the partners are united in their wish to gather the right knowledge for green retrofitting in the built environment, and heritage in particular. The project received co-funding from EIT Climate-KIC in the summer of 2020, as it was selected as one of the European extraordinary Post Covid-19 Regeneration Projects.

About the Green Menu

The platform “Green Menu” has been developed by De Groene Grachten in 2014 and serves as a national knowledge platform to inspire and activate homeowners to renovate their buildings in a sustainable way, with specific attention for heritage. A green menu for century old houses, farms, windmills, churches, fortresses, and manors has proven successful in the Netherlands. With this project, the approach and platform will be expanded and adapted for the Portuguese and Slovenian context. These new platforms were launched online on December 10th 2020. It is the goal to expand the platform across Europe.

For the Green Menu in Portugal and Slovenia we researched the most appropriate technical measures for the retrofitting of specific Portuguese and Slovenian building typologies. Users can find information on over 70 measures, ranging from quick wins to more complex interventions. Besides the measures we offer information about the regulations and available financing schemes. Everything is presented in a user-friendly way with a 3D animation of the building type for navigation. In short, the starting point for a more sustainable building!

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