Heritage buildings present particular challenges since they comprise complex systems exhibiting a balance between several factors. Retrofit decisions should be derived from social, technical and behavioural data. However, it has been postulated that there is insufficient information about the individual and combined impact of those elements that influence a building’s energy profile. Consequently, it is crucial to understand the perspectives of key stakeholders and decision-makers involved in the sustainable regeneration of cultural built heritage.

As part of a wider study, the researchers carried out interviews with occupants of the Presidential Palace of San Anton in Malta, a 17th century building of heritage and cultural significance hosting a varied spectrum of uses. The survey was designed to assess users’ perception of comfort, functionality, satisfaction and expectation in the context of the building’s layout and use.

The findings were then developed through a workshop organised to discuss the sustainable refurbishment of heritage buildings. During the sessions, issues arising from the occupant survey results were explored through debates with key players, namely: practising professionals, academics, industry stakeholders and policy-makers. The workshop methodology comprised of three main stages: A detailed presentation introducing the case study; a panel debate focusing on the main workshop themes; and specific topics addressed in more detail, by dividing participants into smaller target groups, with key conclusions from each group developed and presented by the leaders and rapporteurs.

The workshop addressed two main themes: the heritage value, energy profile and retrofit potential of heritage buildings; and the implications of policy at European and National level. In this paper, the outcomes of the workshop are reported in the context of relevance to the climatic, energy demand, comfort and functionality challenges presented by heritage buildings in the international arena. Strategies to support behavioural change and recommendations for amendments to policy are proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAcceptance date - 2016
EventREHAB 2017 -
Duration: 14 Jun 201716 Jun 2017


ConferenceREHAB 2017


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