Activities - CEN : European Committee for Standardization

Picture13Peter Cox is the Vice President of ICOMOS Ireland and the President of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Energy & Sustainability – the main objectives of the ISCES is to highlight and promote the need for careful thought and approach to the "Energy Efficiency of Historic Buildings". ICOMOS International put Peter Cox forward to represent them at a European level on the CEN TC/346 WG 8.

CEN is the Comité Européen de Normalisation. CEN is the non-profit organisation whose mission is to foster the European economy in global trading, the welfare of European citizens and the environment by providing an efficient infrastructure to interested parties for the development, maintenance & distribution of coherent sets of standards and specifications.
The CEN was founded in 1961, its 30 national members work together to develop European Standards (EN's) in various sectors to build a European internal market.

More than 60,000 technical experts as well as business federations, consumer and other societal interest organisations are involved in the CEN Network.

CEN forms a Technical Committee (TC) to concentrate on a particular interest the CEN TC/346 is solely responsible for the "Conservation of Cultural Heritage" within each Technical Committee there are a number of Work Groups (WG) in the case of CEN TC/346 we are involved in Work Group 8 – this group of European Experts are charged with developing a set of guidelines that will lead to a new European Standard for the "Energy Efficiency of Culturally, Historically and Architecturally Important Buildings" so this is the CEN TC/346 WG8. The members of this group numbers 20, is led by Norway with members from Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Italy, France, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, UK, Greece and Scotland, we have met 3 times over an 18 month period, the first meeting was held in Benedictbeuern, Bavaria, the second in Copenhagen and the third in Bolzano, Italy – the fourth is the meeting in Dublin and this was initiated by Peter Cox with the support of ICOMOS Ireland and the Department of Arts Heritage & Gaeltacht.



The main driver for this group is the fact that most governments have signed up to the Kyoto Protocol – this commits government to meet stringent targets in reducing CO² emissions by 20% by 2020 based on 1990 levels – little has been done to meet these targets, this coupled with the collapse of the construction sector all governments across Europe have now identified the "Built Heritage" as a major contributor to reducing CO²'s whilst also stimulating the construction employment market. This is now referred to as the "Retro Fit" sector and most governments are developing guidelines for the retro fit market and designing incentive measures to achieve high targets for the retro fit of existing buildings – what we believe is that no government understands the size of the "Historically Important Buildings" and the potential damage that these well meaning measures will have on the building fabric and aesthetics of our older and traditional buildings.



Many in our industry and in governments do not realise the number of historic buildings that make up Europe's "Built Heritage". In general the built heritage can be divided into 3 sections – Housing; Public Buildings and Commercial – the following are some statistics from research carried out across the 28 countries of the European Union.
Housing on average 38% of Europe's built heritage is dated prior to 1945 which means these houses have some heritage and cultural value, this relates to approximately 60 million + homes affecting over 150 million peoples.

Public Buildings as these buildings by their nature developed with political and administrative structures within countries 65% are pre 1945 and indeed probably 80% of these date to pre 1900's.
Commercial as many as 25% of our industrial and commercial buildings date from pre 1945 with many of these now representing our very important "Industrial Heritage".

If you take a mean of these statistics we come out just over 42% of Europe's built heritage is pre 1945 with some heritage and cultural value – we believe this relates to over 120 million buildings and the most worrying statistic of all is that only 8% of these buildings have some form of "Statutory Protection".



The wider heritage community does not have a problem at all with the retro fit market per say, however we do have serious concerns on setting proper guidelines and standards for the "Energy Upgrading of Historic and Traditional Buildings" and the proper assessment of buildings and we wish to highlight the need for education & knowledge in this sector when dealing with an older building.


Image Copyright: © Historic Scotland 

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