UCEM programme leader shares research at prestigious international historic building conference

Posted on: 12 May, 2022

Policymakers from across Europe were in attendance for a presentation delivered by a UCEM programme leader on the carbon value of heritage.

James Ritson

Dr James Ritson

Dr James Ritson, who leads on UCEM’s MSc Building Surveying programme, shared his research at the 4th International Conference on Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings (EEHB) in Germany last week.

More than 100 people attended in person with a further 50 tuning in online as building heritage experts presented their thoughts on applying sustainable solutions to existing building stock.

As well as presenting his research on reducing the carbon of a building without impacting on its heritage, Dr Ritson soaked up the innovative research of his peers at the Monastery Benediktbeuern – itself a living lab for building sustainability research.

A talk at the conference The monastery A row of four lights being reviewed for their energy efficiency

The conference venue The monastery

Scenes from the conference

Dr Ritson commented: “It was amazing. It was really intellectually stimulating. It was phenomenal to see how the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physicshad taken over some of the buildings in the monastery and made them into living labs testing types of insulation, for example. In these living labs, they are collecting huge amounts of data. The talks were amazing. It was absolutely fantastic listening to the range of ideas.

“The conference looked at both large-scale solutions and macro solutions to the climate crisis – things like breathable insulation. This is being fed into legislation. It’s one of the few forums out there where those dealing with macro issues to do with heritage share their insights with decision-makers from local governments.

“There was a determination from all present that we can meet these [climate change] challenges. We are part of the solution. Heritage is no longer exempt from dealing with it. There is a feeling we are moving forward. It was being taken very seriously.”

Many government officials were present taking notes at the conference, which is held every four years. A number of publications will be created from the keynote presentations and shared on the conference website.

For a more in-depth look into Dr Ritson’s research and his takeaways from the conference, take a look at his article summarising reflections from the event.