Climate for Culture: assessing the impact of climate change on the future indoor climate in historic buildings using simulations

J. Leissner, R. Kilian, Lola Kotova, Daniela Jacob, U. Mikolajewicz, T. Broström, J. Ashley-Smith, Henk Schellen, Marco Martens, Jos van Schijndel, F. Antretter, M. Winkler, C. Bertolin, D. Camuffo, Goran Simeunovic, T. Vyhlidal

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The present study reports results from the large-scale integrated EU project “Climate for Culture”. The full name, or title, of the project is Climate for Culture: damage risk assessment, economic impact and mitigation strategies for sustainable preservation of cultural heritage in times of climate change. This paper focusses on implementing high resolution regional climate models together with new building simulation tools in order to predict future outdoor and indoor climate conditions. The potential impact of gradual climate change on historic buildings and on the vast collections they contain has been assessed. Two moderate IPCC emission scenarios A1B and RCP 4.5 were used to predict indoor climates in historic buildings from the recent past until the year 2100. Risks to the building and to the interiors with valuable artifacts were assessed using damage functions. A set of generic building types based on data from existing buildings were used to transfer outdoor climate conditions to indoor conditions using high resolution climate projections for Europe and the Mediterranean.

The high resolution climate change simulations have been performed with the regional climate model REMO over the whole of Europe including the Mediterranean region. Whole building simulation tools and a simplified building model were developed for historic buildings; they were forced with high resolution climate simulations. This has allowed maps of future climate-induced risks for historic buildings and their interiors to be produced. With this procedure future energy demands for building control can also be calculated.

With the newly developed method described here not only can outdoor risks for cultural heritage assets resulting from climate change be assessed, but also risks for indoor collections. This can be done for individual buildings as well as on a larger scale in the form of European risk maps. By using different standardized and exemplary artificial buildings in modelling climate change impact, a comparison between different regions in Europe has become possible for the first time. The methodology will serve heritage owners and managers as a decision tool, helping them to plan more effectively mitigation and adaption measures at various levels.

Keywords: Climate change; High resolution climate modelling; Whole building simulation; Indoor climates; Damage and risk assessment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalHeritage Science
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


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