Shaping the Future Conference

Press Release – 20 April 2018
The Heritage Council & ICOMOS Ireland

Report on ‘Deep Energy Renovation of Traditional Buildings’

Think that all insulation is equal? That double-glazing is the answer to draughty rooms? Or that dry-lining walls is the secret to a cosier home? Much of the advice around energy efficiency measures given to homeowners would suggest as much, but the reality is very different for many older buildings.

The Heritage Council, ICOMOS Ireland and partners have produced a report on Deep Energy Renovation of Traditional Buildings with support from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The report deals with how to reduce energy use in older buildings that are constructed differently to modern buildings and so need a different approach.

This much-needed body of research includes and highlights potential renovation risks such as damp. It is designed to inform building professionals and specifiers but would be of interest to anyone looking to make an older building warmer and more comfortable. The report is available to download for free from the Heritage Council and ICOMOS Ireland websites and includes hundreds of links to further sources of information.

Traditional buildings generally have solid stone or brick walls. They represent about 16% of the total residential housing stock in Ireland. These buildings have different moisture (hygroscopic) and thermal behaviours to modern construction and therefore need different methods and materials to improve their energy efficiency.

In our nationwide effort to reduce carbon emissions and energy use, it is important that energy renovation works in traditional buildings do not lead to an increased risk of damp. Moisture retention has damaging effects on both the fabric of the building and on the health and well-being of the occupants. This report helps to reduce these risks by highlighting good practice design and by sharing technical advice and lessons learned by others along the way.

The report is the result of a research project commissioned by the Heritage Council and funded by a grant from the SEAI Research, Development and Dissemination Programme. The research was carried out by Dr Caroline Engel Purcell, with the support of Carrig Conservation International Ltd, and the ICOMOS Ireland National Scientific Committee on Energy, Sustainability and Climate Change (NSCES+CC) acted as the expert Steering Committee.

This report also responds to the call by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to create co-operative cross-institutional arrangements between State Departments, statutory bodies, the building sector and NGOs to further the aim of reducing Ireland’s carbon emissions and energy usage.

The Heritage Council and its partners intend to use this report to provide technical conservation skills training for the deep energy renovation of traditional buildings in 2018.

Deep Energy Renovation of Traditional Buildings: Addressing Knowledge Gaps and Skills Training in Ireland is available to download for free from and 

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Shaping the Future – Urban Regeneration and Adaptive Reuse Towards Developing a Culture of Innovation and Design 

A cross-sectoral conference addressing the challenges in the regeneration of historic buildings and areas

Friday 9th March 2018 – Hibernia Conference Centre, Dublin Castle

A one-day conference to discuss on-going priorities, strategies and challenges facing urban regeneration and consolidation in our major European cities and towns.

Responsibility for shaping, managing and re-imagining the built environment is one shared by all sectors in society: communities, central and local Governments, design and building professions, financial institutions, specialist agencies, clients who commission buildings and the building industry. Without a well-informed and engaged public, creation of a high quality built environment and the on-going management of our inheritance from the past may be difficult to achieve.

The continuing challenge has a new dimension: how to integrate this broad cultural agenda with the urgent requirement that we establish a sustainable built environment for both existing and new building stock. Cities and their qualities in terms of the urban environment have become a key element in competitive advantage and in driving economic investment and progress – in this regard place has become a key element of this economic proposition. Leveraging significant investment in the sustainable management and conservation of Ireland’s urban built heritage - there is a new opportunity to focus on re-using our existing historic buildings and areas through well informed and creative adaptation strategies.

The central objective of this one day conference is to bring together key stakeholders from relevant government departments, local authorities, professionals in practice and a range of other players in the built environment across Europe to collaboratively discuss exemplary practice in the successful regeneration of historic buildings and places.

Please confirm your attendance or that of a nominee in advance with Mr Garry Byrne, Built Heritage, Architectural Policy & Strategic Infrastructure, DCHG to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or tel. 01 888 2557. Built Heritage, Architectural Policy & Strategic Infrastructure Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Additional information