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Application of the Zero Emission Refurbishment method at a district scale


The intervention measures in historic buildings, if planned and implemented correctly, provide enormous cultural, economic, environmental and social benefits. Moreover, performing the improvements at an urban level, for groups of buildings that hold similar significance and preservation status, would ensure the uniformity of intervention works and result in time- and money-saving than treating each building separately.

Nevertheless, maintenance and adaptation interventions in historic buildings have a high level of difficulty. Specific protection statuses and considerable constraints for change lead to additional restrictions that need to be maintained. This added complexity, along with the demanding targets of energy efficiency in the building stock, are among the challenges that need to be faced for the present and future generations.

The Zero Emission Refurbishment (ZER) method, applied here as an example to a historic block in the city of Trondheim in Norway, shows the reduction potential of the carbon footprint before undergoing large-scale interventions. The method includes legislative conservative requirements and the environmental impact of the actions to select the most adequate intervention measures. It is flexible and comprehensive and can be applied to diverse built environments. The overall carbon footprint of the intervention measures, linked with the operational energy improvement after the completion of the works, serve as an indicator for the estimation of renewable energy generated from the neighbourhood and therefore, for the transition to a low carbon society by developing sustainable historic neighbourhoods with zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.


Academic article





  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology



Published in

International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction







View this publication at Cristin