The challenge of the integrated seismic strengthening and environmental upgrading of existing buildings

Paolo Negro
European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)
European Laboratory for Structural Assessment (ELSA)

The construction industry, as a main energy consumer and a foremost contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, has been undergoing a “green revolution” in the recent years. Sustainability has become a prominent issue, therefore a framework for including energy efficiency and sustainability in the design of buildings is badly needed. Sustainability is the core of the European Renovation Wave strategy and of the New European Bauhaus initiative.

A design method, named SAFESUST (SAFEty and SUSTainability) has been proposed at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, able to address at the same time structural safety, energy and environmental performances. The output of this approach is a unique parameter, expressed in monetary terms, which helps in identifying the most appropriate design solution.

More recently, the Joint Research Centre, under mandate of the European Parliament, has activated a European Pilot Project named “Integrated techniques for the seismic strengthening and energy efficiency of existing buildings”. The project is expected to put forward a simplified holistic approach to improve simultaneously the seismic safety and energy efficiency of the existing European building stock and to stimulate the use of integrated solutions. 

The activity of the Joint Research Centre is also conducting a Preparatory Action for the definition of a labelling strategy for the implementation of the New European Bauhaus initiative.