I have just come back after a presentation at the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna. (I always feel guilty about the travel element!) Just to clarify the title what the three magnificent properties in the title have in common is ‘sustainability’ and more specifically a discussion with the practitioners developing the sites who are all focusing on energy use and energy efficiency. I have just returned from a two-day European congress on energy efficiency and historic building in Vienna and what really stood out for me was the simple fact that we in the UK have stuff to share which really did surprise me. (we have this perception that our European partners are streets ahead of us on sustainability) Having worked in the environmental sector for quite a few years we (in the UK) always think that we are a few decades behind our European cousins. This in fact is not quite true. I was there with my colleague Rory Cullen to share our experiences of sustainability approaches and historic buildings.
Being immersed in Schloss’s, Chateaus, Palaces and Castles for two days was a really good experience. We have a lot to learn from our European partners around ventilation control, business planning and technologies but we also have a lot to share around cultural shift, lighting and fabric heat loss. It was good to meet so many people working in what my colleague Paul calls ‘lumpy’ jobs (mansions) and dealing with the same challenges we face day to day on energy use and generation. The main outcome for me was meeting technicians, engineers who are at the cutting edge of research. We have some home-work in the NT on conductive walls, building ventilation approaches and simple window heat reflection… much much more to come from this!