Thermal comfort optimisation of vernacular rural buildings: passive solutions to retrofit a typical farmhouse in central Italy

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Maria Elena Menconi *
Massimo Chiappini
Jan L.M. Hensen
David Grohmann
(*) Corresponding Author:
Maria Elena Menconi |


An adequate retrofitting of traditional rural buildings requires to preserve their formal characteristics and to understand the constructive elements that compose them and which are different in different geographical areas. This paper analyses the typical farmhouses in central Italy. Starting from the definition of a vernacular building model, the paper analyses its performance in terms of thermal comfort and energy efficiency. The methodology involves the use of energy dynamic simulations coupled with optimisation techniques aimed to identify the best combinations of insulating materials in terms of choice of material and its optimal location in the envelope. The paper demonstrates the good thermal and energy performance of farmhouses in central Italy. The results of the optimisation process showed that in these buildings, with the addition of insulation materials with low conductivity the perceived discomfort in the inhabited areas of the building can be reduced by 79% and the energy consumption related to heating can be reduced by 77%. The level of insulation of the pavement that separates the ground and first floor needs to be more moderate to promote the heat flow between floors during summer. The sensitivity analysis shows that the most influential component for thermal comfort is the roof insulation.

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Author Biography

Maria Elena Menconi, Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Landscape and Rural Buildings Research Unit, University of Perugia

Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences