Renovation and cultural heritage


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Discovering methods to save energy in a heat demanding building whilst respecting the original architecture and cultural value

The synagogue in Copenhagen was built in 1833 and is a listed building after being deemed worthy of preservation by the Danish Government. The building is used several times a day for religious gatherings, lectures and especially during the Jewish Sabbath each Saturday. For various purposes, an effective heating system is required in a cold climate like the Danish one, but as the building is almost 180 years old, the insulation level and structure do not enable a warm indoor climate. Therefore, to heat the 1225 m2 in the synagogue, the Danish Jewish society saw the need for an energy reduction project to save both heat and energy as well as increase the functional heating features.

Architects and engineers from Rambøll initiated the renovation project of the old synagogue, which is constrained by the obligation to maintain original architectural, cultural and environmental aspects due to its heritage-listed status.  A special focus has been on the design of intelligent technical solutions within the framework of the restrictions of a listed building structure with a high level of sensitivity to the exquisite detailing of the interior. The Rambøll integrated design setup covers the entire scope of services required for the project and supports a lean, efficient and comprehensive take on the delicate transformation of an iconic building into an up-to-date setting and comfort requirements. The close in-house collaboration within Rambøll between expert disciplines – architects and engineers – supports the successful implementation of new technical standards in a delicate architectural setting.

The renovation process included the addition of adequate roof insulation, installation of removable windows with energy measures, a new heat-distribution installation, ventilation system and, lastly, a replacement of existing light sources with LED lighting. The new heat installation enables energy savings through various measures, for example by making sure that the capacity equals the heating demand to alleviate the need to supplement demand with expensive electricity heating.

All initiatives are installed with the aim of saving heating as well as lowering energy demand in the old building. Consequently, energy reductions will influence operational costs and potentially reduce CO2 emissions at the same time. Supporting the project business case, Rambøll has calculated the potential reduction of energy consumption for heating to be 100 MWh per year, which amounts to a 35 per cent reduction in energy. In the end, the old synagogue can expect a to reduce annual energy costs by DKK 117,000, and simultaneously ensure an energy efficient building with a warm and comfortable indoor climate for the users.

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