Italian Architectural Heritage and Photovoltaic Systems. Matching Style with Sustainability
- «”Energy efficiency first” as a horizontal guiding principle of European climate and energy governance and […] to make sure we only produce the energy we really need;
- Affordability, making energy-performing and sustainable buildings widely available, in particular for medium and lower-income households and vulnerable people and areas;
- Decarbonisation and integration of renewables […];
- Life-cycle thinking and circularity […];
- High health and environmental standards […];
- Tackling the twin challenges of green and digital transitions together […].
- Respect for aesthetics and architectural quality. Renovation must respect design, craftsmanship, heritage and public space conservation principles» (; p. 3–4).
2.1. Balancing Heritage Conservation with Innovation. The Cultural Framework
2.2. Investing in Building Rehabilitation and Sustainable Development. The Economic Framework
2.3. Defining a System of Rules and Guidelines. The Regulatory Framework
- risk of material, constructional, structural impact;
- risk of architectural, aesthetic, visual impact;
- risk of spatial impact.
3. Materials and Methods
3.1. Review of Assessment Criteria for the Integration of Solar Technologies in Historic Buildings
- adapting the photovoltaic modules to the inclination and the roof frame;
- grouping the panels;
- adapting the photovoltaic modules to the roof contours, ridge and eaves lines;
- adapting the photovoltaic modules to the pitch dimensions;
- covering up pipes, cable trays and anchoring elements;
- designing joints carefully;
- choosing colours and surface textures that complies with the old roofing.
- the roof is clearly visible or is in a prominent position in the landscape;
- the roof is clearly visible from an urban public space;
- the roof is part of a homogeneous area of the built environment;
- the roof is on a low building, highly visible from nearby buildings;
- the size of the pitch is unsuitable to contain the modules needed.
- where possible, place panels on the roofs of outbuildings (e.g., pergolas on parking lots);
- use integrated solutions to replace roofing;
- study the disposition of the panels in a continuous band, above the eaves line, throughout the whole length of the roof or covering the entire pitch with better exposure to solar radiation;
- choosing panel colours consistent with the roofing colour.
- the constraint-induced by superstructure elements;
- solar irradiation;
- economic feasibility;
- the structural robustness of the roof;
- the heritage and aesthetic qualities of buildings.
- aesthetic value: beauty, harmony
- spiritual value: understanding, enlightenment, insight
- social value: connection with others, a sense of identity
- historical value: connection with the past
- symbolic value: objects or sites as repositories or conveyors of meaning
- authenticity value: integrity, uniqueness.
3.2. Study Cases
- perceptive-cultural constraints aimed at preserving symbolic, historic, stylistic and artistic features, respect for the collective memory, and aesthetic connections with the landscape;
- morphological-dimensional constraints aimed at preserving the geometric configuration and stereometric characteristics of the envelope;
- material-constructional constraints aimed at preserving the building materials and techniques, as well as their performance.
4. Results and Discussion
4.1. Criteria for Assessing Integration Project Quality
- Compatibility: The ability to avoid irreversible changes in the shape of the building or its elements and in the logics of construction; the ability to avoid degradations or breakdowns related to the installation of PV systems. The criterion refers to the tangible effects of the transformation.
- Acceptability: the ability to ensure that the integration of PV systems with the heritage building is accepted not only by the clients and designers but also by the direct, indirect and potential users of the building. The criterion refers to the intangible effects of the transformation.
- Reversibility: ability to remove added elements or materials or to reinstall those removed.
- Conservation of material: use of materials and products which do not compromise the preservation of the building or its parts; the choice of technological solutions which minimise the loss of materials.
- Conservation of the construction system: protection of the construction techniques and the relationships linking the elements of the building, as evidence of the material culture of a specific era or evolution over time.
- Durability of transformation: preventing the added elements from being affected by a rapid degradation process, which would also cause negative effects on the pre-existing elements.
- Preventing decay/breakdown caused by transformation: preventing new materials, new elements, changes in the layout of elements or spaces from damaging the building or accelerating its degradation process.
- Recognisability of the original construction system: ensuring the identification of the building’s construction conception, by using materials and techniques which will not hide its signs.
- Respecting collective memory: ensuring that the transformations do not alter the recognition of the heritage building as an element of social identity, with symbolic values.
- Preservation of aesthetic relationships with the landscape: preserving the morphological, dimensional and proportional relationships between the building and its environment.
- Preservation of building’s appearance: preserving the building’s image by not altering the shape, size and proportions of the building as a whole, as well as its constituent elements, and preserving the quality of the finishes (colour, texture, grain).
- Recognisability of the transformation: ensuring a clear differentiation between new and pre-existing elements, avoiding mimicry.
4.2. A synergy among the Excellences to Get out of the Impasse
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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De Medici, S. Italian Architectural Heritage and Photovoltaic Systems. Matching Style with Sustainability. Sustainability 2021, 13, 2108. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042108
De Medici S. Italian Architectural Heritage and Photovoltaic Systems. Matching Style with Sustainability. Sustainability. 2021; 13(4):2108. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042108Chicago/Turabian Style
De Medici, Stefania. 2021. "Italian Architectural Heritage and Photovoltaic Systems. Matching Style with Sustainability" Sustainability 13, no. 4: 2108. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042108