Education | Participation | Research

Climate Mitigation in Heritage Buildings

The Sendzimir Foundation carried out a two-year project in cooperation with the Croatia Green Building Council from September 2020 to September 2022. It is related to the practical aspects of the sustainable energy renovation of historical buildings. The project received funding under the European Climate Initiative (EUKI).

Project goals

  • Building awareness of climate-friendly renovation solutions in historic and heritage buildings.
  • Providing professional knowledge and practical skills to support activities leading to the increased energy efficiency of historic buildings in Poland and Croatia.
  • Strengthening cooperation, knowledge transfer and exchange of experiences between local government entities and other stakeholders in Polish and Croatian cities.

Expert seminar and interviews with stakeholders

We inaugurated the project at an expert seminar on 6-7 October 2020 in Zagreb. Read the report from the seminar.

To map the biggest challenges of energy renovation, we conducted 36 in-depth interviews with project stakeholders in Poland and Croatia from November 2020 to May 2021, in which over 50 people participated. The interviews’ findings helped us prepare a draft of the guidance publication, which was later developed by editor Tomasz Jeleński in cooperation with the invited authors. The publication aimed to provide up-to-date knowledge on the existing solutions to increase the energy efficiency of existing buildings and reduce their impact on the environment. 

Two-stage training program “Renovation and thermal modernization of historical buildings in times of climate crisis.”

The training was intended for architects, conservators, engineers, contractors, project managers, members of city offices for cultural protection and energy, public administration bodies, and students. Its goal is to raise the capacity of participants in the area of sustainable heritage building renovation. 

The program’s first stage was two editions of an e-learning course based on training materials developed by a team of experts; read more about the training content.

  • On October 4 – November 7, 2021, we conducted a course in English attended by 81 people. 
  • On November 8 – December 5, 2021, we organised an edition of the course in Polish, attended by 313 people.
ceglany budynek
An on-site visit of a working group in I High School in Olsztyn, photo: Tomasz Jeleński

The second stage of the program was practical workshops in 6 partner cities: Mysłowice (18-19 January 2022), Olsztyn (30-31 March 2022), Bielsko-Biała (26-27 April 2022) in Poland and Koprivnica (27-28 January), Rijeka (17-19 March) and Zagreb (3-4 May) in Croatia. Participants had an opportunity to analyse the situation of actual buildings selected by host cities. Then, in cooperation with experts and local stakeholders representatives, they designed sustainable recommendations for particular buildings demanding renovation and retrofit. All selected buildings were under conservatory protection, making them challenging case studies for participants. During the final presentation of the chosen recommendations for each building, the representatives of key-local stakeholders were present.

ludzie na zacienionym podwórzu
Kindergarten Vjeverica in Zagreb during an on-site visit, photo: Ana Šenhold

Publication and conference summarising the project

The project results were disseminated among target groups through the practical publication Renovation and retrofitting of old buildings in times of climate crisis, edited by Tomasz Jeleński. It is published online in PolishCroatian and English. It was also published in print in Polish and Croatian and distributed to those who enrolled to receive the publication via enrollment form and to the relevant Ministries, major cities in Poland and Croatia, conservatory offices, expert institutions, libraries, the associations of architects, etc. 

książki na stole
Project publication being distributed among the participants of the conference in Warsaw, photo: Tomasz Kaczor

To summarise the project’s findings, we organised two conferences in Poland and Croatia: September 15 2022, in Zagreb and September 29 2022, in Warsaw. The conference’s programme was co-shaped by the project’s beneficiaries and contributors: stakeholders, interview participants, e-learning and collaborative workshops alums, and contributors to the final publication. 

Besides the inspiring lectures and discussions, conference participants in Poland had a chance to take part in practical workshops on several subjects like woodwork in historical buildings, internal thermo-modernization of buildings or algorithms for the optimal scope of energy renovation – workshop on the tool developed by Tomasz Jeleński as a part of the publication.

panel dyskusyjny
Discussion panel in Warsaw, from the left Agnieszka Czachowska, Adam Wojtalik and Małgorzata Borys, photo: Tomasz Kaczor

This project [Climate Mitigation in Heritage Buildings] is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union (EU) in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.


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