Robust Internal Insulation for Historic Buildings


The implementation of internal thermal insulation for historic buildings is subject to a certain risk of failure and high costs of installation but it also has a significant potential for energy savings around 15-20% of the energy consumption. The RIBuild project strengthens the knowledge on how and under what conditions internal thermal insulation is to be implemented in historic buildings, without compromising their architectural and cultural values. The project gathers expertise from material characterisation, building physics, energy, sustainability and statistics, and ranges from theoretical considerations to implementation of retrofit measures in buildings. More specifically, the general objective of the project is to develop effective, comprehensive web-based guidelines to optimise the design and implementation of internal thermal insulation in historic buildings across Europe. RIBuild focuses on heavy external walls made of stone, brick and timber framing.

A first part of the project concerns the hygrothermal assessment of interior insulation measures. RIBuild applies the research and laboratory testing methodologies for existing building materials used in historic buildings as a basis for assessment of the feasibility of specific retrofit measures. In Switzerland, stones are characterized to represent different types of historic external walls. In parallel, hygrothermal assessment are conducted on monitored case studies to compare on-site measurements with transient simulations using the DELPHIN software. Different combinations of DELPHIN simulations are finally defined based on an efficient strategy (probabilistic hygrothermal assessment) to represent different case studies and contexts with a reduced time effort. These different developments are then used to contribute, test and illustrate the RIBuild web-based guidelines.

In a second part, a methodology for the energy saving potentials, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costs (LCC) of historic building renovation is developed. It takes into account the inherent uncertainties and variabilities in the choice of the optimal renovation scenarios by testing different U-values requirements for the building elements of the thermal envelope. In Switzerland, the project assesses in particular the optimal scenarios able to reach the global heating demand requirements (SIA 380/1) in a moisture-safe way while minimizing the life cycle environmental impacts (greenhouse gas emissions) and the life cycle costs over the lifetime of the renovation measures. The results also serve as inputs for the RIBuild guidelines.


Partenaires financiers

Horizon 2020

Partenaires industriels

Two industrial partners actively participate to the RIBuild project:

Other industrial partners are part of the Swiss communication network:

Partenaire académique

techniche universitat dresden