The Sustainable Regeneration of Built Heritage Workshop was held today at San Anton Palace under the auspices of the President of Malta. The event forms part of an on-going project, initiated by the President almost two years ago. The project aims to support the development of an effective strategy for improving the energy performance of heritage buildings, whilst conserving architectural and historic value.

Reducing energy costs in a historic building presents a specific challenge since any intervention must also respect its heritage characteristics. The project, therefore, seeks to optimise already present green features in order to maximise energy efficiency and improve comfort levels for the people who use the building. This should always be done before resorting to artificial means of cooling, heating and lighting, such as air-conditioners.

Project leader Perit Amber Wismayer, with expertise from the University of Bath (UK) and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UK), hopes that, once completed, the work being carried out at San Anton Palace will lay the foundations for similar projects to be implemented in other historic buildings in the future: this to achieve energy savings at a national level, whilst also supporting the re-use of Malta’s architectural legacy.

A detailed survey of San Anton Palace has already been completed and its different uses established. Over 35% of the building’s users have so far been involved in the project to assess the building’s comfort and functionality, and the problems associated with layout, furnishing, lighting, door/window treatments etc. At this stage of the project, different rooms in the Palace are being monitored for temperature, humidity, light, infrared and CO2 levels, using equipment on loan from the University of Bath.

Today was the first time this work has been made public through the SRBH Workshop. Immediate stakeholders including the Planning Authority, Periti and NGOs, were all invited to participate. The aim of the workshop was to hear the views of these stakeholders, understand the problems they face, and establish the way forward.

The event was organised with the participation of the President’s Foundation for the Well-Being of Society, the University of Bath (UK), the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UK) and the University of Malta, with a strong representation of the Planning Authority. Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change Jose Herrera opened the proceedings, and Prof Torpiano, Dean of the Faculty for the Built Environment (University of Malta) chaired the panel during the morning session. The afternoon was devoted to three different workshops, which each addressed specifics technical issues.

The demand for participation at the event was greater than expected, and attendees were keen and enthusiastic to share their perceptions. The result was an interesting discussion, and a very successful workshop.

Source: Government of Malta