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Environment and Energy

Improving the energy efficiency of historical buildings and environmental agents threatening the integrity of materials.


Several are the environmental agents threatening the integrity of materials.
In particular, air pollution represents one of the main factors seriously endangering the rich European cultural heritage, strongly contributing to its deterioration and soiling. Therefore, environmental investigations represent a key aspect within an integrated approach in order to develop suitable strategies for the safeguard of cultural heritage.
Actually, environmental monitoring enables to control quality and changes of the environment surrounding cultural heritage, to assess the risk of decay and the decay evolution.
Moreover, to take into account the environmental conditions in field and laboratory studies is fundamental for the comprehension of the decay mechanisms.


On account of the global climate change and the reduction of the world oil and gas resources, the energy saving in building heating and cooling appears as an important target in the European Union: buildings represent in Europe 40% of the final energy consumption.
The energy retrofit is particularly difficult in the case of historic buildings, where an external thermal insulation of the lateral walls cannot be performed. Therefore, an important field of this research is the improvement of heating and conditioning plant.

Alma HeritageScience research activities

Improvement of the energy efficiency of historical buildings: calculation of thermal resistance and thermal transmittance of the main opaque and transparent surfaces, reduction of heat losses, improvement of efficient thermal production and regulation system, dynamic simulation of building-plant system.

Determination in situ of the main characteristics of existing buildings by non-destructive tests: evaluation of thermal transmittance of wall components, using the heat flowmeter measurement method, and of thermal bridges or hidden masonry by IR cameras, determination of air permeability of buildings, by means of fan pressurization method (Blower Door Test).

Determination in laboratory of innovative materials thermophysical properties: determination of thermal conductivity in homogeneous materials, particularly thermal insulation boards and determination of water vapour permeability.

Indoor/Outdoor micro and macroclimatic monitoring: study of climatic conditions, to evaluate the suitability of the environment to preserve materials constituting historic-artistic, archaeological and archival objects.

Study of the decay induced by pollutants and environmental factors on materials constituting cultural heritage or used for their protection.