The Waaghouse in Bozen/Bolzano: age vs innovation?

New enertour destination – Can a medieval building become a test bed for trying out solutions for energy-saving renovation? The results from the observations of the ‘Waaghaus’, a Romanesque building in the heart of Bozen/Bolzano, help us to understand the energy requirements of an old building.

The European project 2ENCULT aims at finding suitable solutions for improving the energy efficiency of historic buildings in urban areas. Within the framework of this project, scientists from EURAC (European Academy Bozen/Bolzano) are observing the impact and the performance profile of some of the restorative interventions which have been carried out at the historic “Waaghaus” in Bozen/Bolzano. It is the main project amongst eight case studies which are being carried out by 3ENCULT across Europe, and is unique in Italy.

The “Waaghaus” is part of a Romanesque site from the 13th century, which was rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries. The building is one of the oldest and most important examples of architecture in the old part of the town – not unlike the houses in the Laubengasse which form the inner core of the city. The traditional way of house building featured a ground floor, three lived-in storeys, an attic which was not occupied, and a cellar for food storage.

The walls consist of natural stone and mortar. The walls, all of them between 60 and 80 cm thick, are completely rendered, both inside and outside. The attic and the roof are made of wood. The house front is dominated by the frescos that decorate the wall facing the Kornplatz and the smaller gateway to the arbours. The original windows were replaced in the 50s and 60s by double-glazed ones and wooden shutters were attached to the outside. The building has, for a number of years, been in dire need of attention.

After having carried out a series of non-interventionist tests (thermal imaging, blower-door test, heat flow measurements, light analysis, tracer gas measurements) which allowed them to chart the energetic properties of the building, EURAC experts set up a “test area”. They put in new windows and doors and inserted internal insulation, aiming to monitor their impact constantly.

During a guided tour, run by EURAC scientists, visitors can carry out certain tests to see for themselves (thermal imaging, light analysis).

From October 2014, the Waaghaus will become a destination for an enertour: all interested parties (maximum group size 35) can register for a visit and agree a date (enertour@tis.bz.it).

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