The increased use of historical buildings for the creation of housing is one of several ways to limit the consumption of landscape and resources. At the same time, it can contribute to the preservation of our architectural heritage through the use of listed existing buildings, increase residential culture and sustainably revitalise local and city centres.

The loss of open space through building is growing. According to the Federal Environment Agency, 5,800 km2 of land or 18 percent of the permanent settlement area in the whole of Germany will have been used up by 2019. What analytical tools can be used to motivate developers to exploit the potential of listed buildings for residential use, where planning costs and uncertainties are usually higher than for construction on greenfield sites? Which strategy enables an evaluation of the potential of listed buildings? With these research questions, the project "monumentum ad usum" aims to win over non-profit property developers in Lower Austria for the use of unused or little-used monuments. Important further effects: the revitalisation of historic urban spaces as well as a contribution to sustainability.

Promising climate and energy balance

Case studies in the form of individual object investigations as well as basic research on energy balance and building physics, life cycle and life cycle assessment as well as effects on the settlement area are the methodological tools used. Interim results indicate that the climate and energy balance for the creation and use of living space in historical buildings is significantly better than previously assumed: Over an operating period of 50 years, CO2 emissions can be up to 20 percent lower for renovated listed buildings than for a comparable new building. Current and future climate data are also sometimes taken into account.

The qualitative evaluation model developed in the project can be used to find an economically and environmentally fair balance of funding quality between new construction and renovation funding. Further impact: the adaptation of municipal energy subsidies for monuments and setting the course for improved and, if necessary, increased residential use of monuments.

monumentum ad usum - Potential uses of monuments for non-profit property developers

Project period: 2018-2022

Funding body: Province of Lower Austria, Office of the Lower Austrian Provincial Government, Department of Art and Culture (K1) and Lower Austrian Housing Research, Department of Housing Promotion (F2)

Responsible for the project: Univ.-Prof. Dipl. Arch. ETH Dr. Christian Hanus, Dipl.-Ing. Manfred Sonnleithner, MSc

Research assistants: Dipl.-Ing. Rainer Altmann, MSc Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Helmut Floegl, Dipl.-Ing.in Christina Ipser, Maximilian Mair, Dipl.-Ing.in Elisabetta Meneghini, Dipl.-Ing. Rudolf Passawa, MAS Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Gregor Radinger, MSc Mag.a Elisabeth Resch, Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Bernhard Schneider, Mag. Richard Sickinger, Mag. Mag. Dr. Dr. Peter Strasser, LL.M., Ing. Klaus Winiwarter

Coordination: University of Continuing Education Krems, Department of Building and Environment


Federal Office for the Protection of Monuments, Department for Lower Austria

Austrian Federation of Non-Profit Building Associations, Lower Austrian Provincial Group

Office of the Lower Austrian Provincial Government, Department of General Building Services (BD1)

Office of the Lower Austrian Provincial Government, Department of Science and Research (K3)

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