Insulation, reconstruction and use of new technologies. This is what awaits the EU states after the members of the European Parliament approved significant changes regarding buildings a few days ago. Owners of houses and apartments will have to significantly reduce their energy consumption within ten years, according to the categories determined by the member countries.
Renovations will be paid for from European subsidies. Of course, there are exceptions to the new rules. They do not concern churches or various monuments. However, other historical buildings are a different category. The solution to their insulation will certainly be one of the important discussions among the general and professional public. At the same time, current technologies already make it possible to insulate historical buildings without visual degradation of the objects themselves. An example is the recent reconstruction of the Austrian parliament.
A few days ago, the Austrian parliament was reopened after several years of renovation. Almost 55,000 square meters were renovated. During the reconstruction of the facade, the craftsmen also used special facade profiles from the Austrian company Austrotherm, which is a specialist in insulation and has a long history of developing replicas of historical facade elements. Since the company entered the Czech market in January, it wants to share its experience in the Czech Republic as well. “Especially classic facades are heavily stressed by environmental influences. Even sandstone profiles carved by stonemasons cannot withstand weathering permanently, and besides, they are unaffordable today as original replicas. Our facade profiles enable the cost-effective renovation of old buildings and the authentic and durable reproduction of their appearance,” describes the company’s Czech CEO, Martin Trešl.
According to him, Austrotherm, which has been helping people save energy with its products since 1953, bases its experience on its own extensive research, which is particularly meticulous in the field of monument reconstruction. “All you have to do is walk through historic Vienna. I guarantee you that at first glance you won’t recognize the buildings we insulated there. Over the last few years, we have developed so many historical profiles that it is a pleasure to authentically reconstruct any historical building with them. With the right materials, it’s easy and worth it,” says Trešl, referring to their other reconstructions, such as:
- Viennese Raimund Theater (www.austrotherm.at/unternehmen/referenzen/raimund-theater-wien)
- Gründerzeit Obere Viaduktgasse building (www.austrotherm.at/unternehmen/referenzen/renovierung-gruenderzeitbau-obere-viaduktgasse-wien )
- or a branch of the University of Applied Arts in Vienna (www.austrotherm.at/unternehmen/referenzen/dependance-der-universitaet-fuer-angewandte-kunst-vordere-zollamtsstrasse-7-wien )
According to him, the advantage of these technologies is that during insulation it is possible to restore the original appearance of some historical buildings, which they lost over the centuries during unsparing renovations. “You probably know those soulless old buildings whose broken facades have been removed for reasons of economy and then only plastered over. But the face of the building was originally determined by decorative elements, which have disappeared. With our facade profiles and ornaments, everything can be returned,” he adds.
And what does he think is the best course of action? “If you want to achieve the best possible result, it pays to collaborate between the architect and our company’s technical advisor when planning the appearance of the facade to specify the shape and number of facade profiles. Especially during the reconstruction of heritage-protected buildings, it is necessary to fulfill the strict legal requirements with the utmost care, and to return the building to its original appearance completely faithfully,” he concludes.
The proposal approved by members of the European Parliament calls for all residential buildings to reach category E by 2030 and category D three years later. Other buildings should reach category E as early as 2027. EU countries can decide to exclude other protected buildings with special architectural or historical value, technical structures, temporarily used buildings, churches and places of worship.