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Healthy and Energy-efficient Living in Traditional Rural Houses (HELTH)
Start date: Apr 30, 2010, End date: Mar 31, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In the course of time, the use of traditional and historical rural houses has changed. Modern people have different requirements for comfort, function, and energy-efficiency of houses. Traditional houses are usually heated with fireplaces or other types of biomass based heating. This type of heating is based on sustainability, but it is not energy-efficient and satisfactory from the point of view of indoor climate. The technical condition of the buildings is going to improve; the number of harmful damages decreases and the buildings become more enduring (they will not need too frequent replacements of construction). To make rural buildings more energy efficient and to improve the indoor conditions, the renovation of the their heating and ventilation systems as well as modern approach to renewable energies is a potential alternative. Selected technical solution should suit to the traditional houses and landscape. As a result, the rural areas also become more attractive for tourism. Living conditions include indoor conditions as well outdoor conditions. The architectural values of rural houses as well natural and man-made landscape make the outdoor living conditions. Traditional rural houses and landscape are part of cultural heritage that is preserved. During the project one continues to carry on with the fieldwork to inventory houses and determine their technical condition, energy efficiency and quality of indoor climate in selected test houses. Based on the existent scientific material it is possible, already in the first year of the project, to start with theoretical training and seminars to educate future regional counselors. At the same time it is possible to start with practical training and information days for house owners, master builders as well as the general public. Besides practical knowledge the latter also acquire the general idea about the meaning of cultural heritage. The project concerns traditional rural houses which are built before 1940 and are heated periodically or seasonally, or unheated. Considering the similarity of the cultural heritage and nature conditions in the area of the project it is possible to study these areas (WP2) by using the same research model; the research results of different regions can be generalized and exploited. As a result of the project the owners of traditional rural houses and the public (WP3, WP4) will become more aware about the all-year economical maintenance of their houses. Research in this project includes field measurements and computer simulations of indoor climate, energy efficiency, performance of envelope etc. In the course of the project trainings are held for specialists of both rural municipalities and local museums in order to use them as counsellors in the corresponding region. The number of trained craftsmen contributes to the increasing employment rate in rural areas. Achievements: The HELTH project has developed optimal solutions concerning how traditional rural houses may be renovated to achieve healthy and energy-efficient living conditions. Researchers analysed different heating and ventilation strategies to reduce fuel usage and carbon emissions in addition to guaranteeing an effective and healthy indoor climate, longer durability and better energy performance. By creating simulation software, researchers were able to find out the influence of renovation solutions on the indoor climate, energy efficiency and hydrothermal performance. The project has also organised training e.g. for homeowners relating to how they can use their houses in more energy-efficient ways and how they could renovate their old houses by respecting the values of them.
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  • 2007 - 2013 Central Baltic (FI-SE-EE-LA)
  • Project on KEEP Platform
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