Geothermal technology and radiant comfort in the bank

Site Description: Renovation of the Palazzo von Hausmann. The vaulted rooms of the ground floor and basement have become home to the new Bolzano branch of the Cassa di Risparmio savings bank.
Location: Salorno (Bolzano, Italy)
Area: approx. 170 sq m
System: Radiant module
Installed by: Termosan sas di Sartori (Egna, Bolzano)
Architect: Architect Enrico Pedri (Bolzano)

Interview with Architect Enrico Pedri

Let‘s talk about the project...
In the restoration of the Palazzo von Hausmann, particularly the vaulted rooms of the ground floor - originally used for agricultural storage and now home to the Cassa di Risparmio savings bank - we endeavoured, in line with the recommendations of the Office of Architectural Heritage of Bolzano, since it is a protected building, to improve the energy efficiency of the building, with an eye on sustainability too. All the exterior walls were covered, from the inside, with a false wall made from clay panels with interposed insulation made from hemp. Three geothermal wells, 100 m deep, were dug in the inner courtyard to heat the entire site using a geothermal heat pump.

How were the systems integrated into the renovated design?
We chose the planium "modular radiant" heating/cooling system because the bank‘s complex system requirements called for the construction of a raised floor. In the space under the floor runs all the electric and safety piping as well as the supply and return pipes for the air treatment unit. The ability to heat/cool the rooms without having to install any other equipment on the historic walls and vaulted ceilings was the winning factor in choosing this system. Last but not least, the mill scale finish perfectly complements the white cream interior finish of the vaults and Topakustik wood décor. The internal office partitions have been designed in the same material and feature glass panel detail.

What is the role of energy efficiency in the conversion of the building?
The containment of energy consumption (ClimateHouse) is fast establishing itself as a major design philosophy, particularly for new builds, the quality of which could be cause for "discrimination" against existing structures, for which current legislation does not impose any specific limits or constraints in terms of energy consumption. If the building is architecturally protected, restoration would be an effective strategy, in terms of sustainability, to significantly reduce consumption and costs, both financially and in terms of resources, and limit greenhouse gas emissions. As an experienced architect, I have set myself the challenge of bringing protected historic buildings, like new buildings, within ClimateHouse parameters, adopting sophisticated techniques that are compatible with protected buildings. Since 2008, I have been President of the Kyotohaus Group (www.kyotohaus.it), based in Laghetti di Egna, northern Italy. The group was formed with the intention of encouraging development, in terms of energy efficiency, of historic buildings, especially if subject to artistic and historical constraints.

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