Report on ‘’Policy Recommendations to Promote the Inclusion of Standards for Heritage Buildings in EU Regulations’’ has been published

Report on ‘’Policy Recommendations to Promote the Inclusion of Standards for Heritage Buildings in EU Regulations’’ has been published

Earlier this year, EIfI-Tech published the openly available report, titled ‘’Policy Recommendations to Promote the Inclusion of Standards for Heritage Buildings in EU Regulations’’, within the Interreg Europe VIOLET project. The primary intent of the VIOLET EU Policy Recommendation Paper is to review the current state of policies across the EU relating to renovation of heritage buildings taking into consideration their energy consumption and energy efficiency measures.

Effective policies and incentive schemes to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings require a solid understanding about the current building stock, especially the special features of heritage buildings. VIOLET partners have each contributed to an improved understanding within this report culminating in policy recommendations, as each partner has gathered facts, figures and recommendations surrounding their regional building stock. As Communication Manager of the VIOLET project, EIfI-Tech then translated the partner input into a structured report, which outlines the intention of the interregional analysis and directly addresses policy makers before delving into the specific analysis of interventions for energy improvements and sustainability aspects of heritage building per partner region in Romania, Cyprus, Spain, France and the Netherlands.

The VIOLET  project  covers  two  different  axes  within  the  current  Regional  Operational Programme (ROP) of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-2020, making it  difficult  to  tackle  both  subjects  at  once.  However,  as outlined in the VIOLET EU Policy Recommendation Paper, this  challenge  should  be  addressed head-on  as  the  complexity  of  the heritage buildings  sector  is  not linear. The international VIOLET consortium is also aware of the complications of having cooperation across a wide range of professionals and vocations. Considering such challenges, policymakers should address these issues following the VIOLET EU policy recommendations.

Thanks to the experience gained by the VIOLET project’s international consortium and the partners’ valuable contributions, this paper has collected various recommendations and questions to be posed to policymakers across Europe. The report has gathered opportunities for energy renovations of heritage buildings from different perspectives, highlighting challenges and opportunities per partner region. From the insights provided by the VIOLET project’s partners, it is clear how the major purpose of decision makers should be to push for a rapid implementation of a comprehensive EU legislative framework capable of considering the nature and needs of heritage buildings in the area of energy efficiency—heritage buildings that constitute a large portion of the European building stock and are undoubtably responsible for unwanted greenhouse emissions. The VIOLET project’s partners would also like to receive feedback on critical issues, such as the optimal governance model in this multidisciplinary field, operational framework and incentives schemes, accounting for the preservation of the cultural heritage across the EU.

Highlighted within this paper was the need:

  • To establish a single competent and responsible authority/department in each region. How to decide which actor is in the best position to act effectively remains a major concern.
  • For a more efficient coordination between cultural heritage preservation and energy efficiency measures.
  • For a complementary strategy, which is necessary to inform about and facilitate energy renovation in heritage buildings, for several reasons outlined but primarily in the reduction of CO2 emanating from the built environment.
  • For an introduction of specific instruments, such as a mandatory evaluation tool, which refers to the obligation to carry out energy audits for all types of buildings, including heritage buildings.
  • For an EU legislation to take into the account the unique nature of traditional and heritage buildings, allowing for the adoption of a flexible approach. In the opposite case, at some point, it will become prohibited to live or work in this category of buildings.
  • To include the topic of energy renovation of heritage buildings in the current EU legislation in a more elaborated manner. The current Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) (2018/844/EU) introduced new elements, such as “research into, and the testing of, new solutions for improving the energy performance of historical buildings and sites should be encouraged, while also safeguarding and preserving cultural heritage”. However, this provision is vague, with no deadlines and targets, and no reference to the complexity of the issue of the heritage building stock.
  • For a particular relevance of heritage buildings in the EU legislation. However, because of the inherent difficulty of introducing technical specifications in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) (2018/844/EU), national and regional policies should first enhance the implementation of the recommendations of the standard ‘EN 16883:2017 Conservation of Cultural Heritage Guidelines’ in the rehabilitation of heritage buildings. By doing so, the extensive execution of specific cases would generate the necessary knowledge to face the changes in the EPBD. This mechanism refers to the “learning by doing” philosophy.


To conclude, if you are a like-minded person or organisation interested in the findings of the paper, or would like to make additional recommendations or comments in an effort to raise this issue to decisions makers at an EU level, please contact Chris Ashe, Director (


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