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Energy effciency, thermal comfort, and heritage conservation in residential historic buildings as dynamic and systemic socio-cultural practices

Fouseki, K; Newton, D; Camacho, KSM; Nandi, S; Koukou, T; (2020) Energy effciency, thermal comfort, and heritage conservation in residential historic buildings as dynamic and systemic socio-cultural practices. Atmosphere , 11 (6) , Article 604. 10.3390/atmos11060604. Green open access

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Abstract

With buildings being responsible for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, intensive building decarbonization programs are in place worldwide, with unintended consequences for historic buildings. To this end, national and international guidance on energy effciency for historic buildings advocate for the adoption of a 'whole house approach' that integrates heritage values in energy effciency plans. Most guidance, though, relies on non-evidence based, pre-assumptions of residents' heritage values. And yet, unless we understand how and why residents negotiate their decisions between energy effciency, thermal comfort, and heritage conservation, such guidance will not be applicable. Despite the urgency to decarbonize the building stock, research on how inhabitants of old buildings make such decisions is extremely limited. It is also case-study specific, often lacking the required depth. To address this gap, this paper offers the first international, in-depth study on the topic. It does so through a rigorous double-coded, thematic analysis of 59 in-depth semi-structured interviews (totaling 206,771 words) carried out in Greece, Mexico, and the UK. The thematic analysis is combined with system dynamic analysis, essential for unveiling what parameters affect inhabitants' decisions over time. Drawing on theories on the dynamics of social practices, we conclude that the process of decision-making on energy effciency, thermal comfort improvement, and heritage conservation is a socio-cultural, dynamic practice, the change and continuation of which depends on how the following elements are connected or disconnected: materials (e.g., original features), competencies (e.g., restoration skills), resources (e.g., costs), values, space/environment (e.g., natural light), senses (e.g., thermal comfort), and time (e.g., years living in the house). The connection or disconnection of those elements will depend on (a) the nature of the context (e.g., rural, urban, conservation area); (b) the listing status; (c) age and construction materials of building; (d) local climate; and (e) ownership status.

Type: Article
Title: Energy effciency, thermal comfort, and heritage conservation in residential historic buildings as dynamic and systemic socio-cultural practices
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/atmos11060604
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11060604
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: heritage values; energy e�ciency; thermal comfort; heritage conservation; original features; system dynamics; social practices; decision-making; historic building
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10101415
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