Joaquim Flores


Joaquim Flores achieved his PhD in the School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University. His Director of Studies was Dr Aylin Orbasli and Prof Rajat Gupta was also on the supervision team. Joaquim started his research project at Brookes as a part-time student in September 2004 and suspended it during two semesters. His research was entitled The investigation of energy efficiency measures in traditional buildings in the Oporto World Heritage Site.

The improvement of energy efficiency in buildings is widely promoted as a measure to mitigate climate change through the reduction of CO2 emissions. Thermal regulations worldwide promote it, for both new and existing buildings. Among the existing stock, traditional and historic buildings pose the additional challenge of heritage conservation. Their energy efficiency upgrade raises the risk of provoking negative impacts on their significance.

This research used an approach based on impact assessment methodologies, defining an initial baseline scenario for both heritage and energy, from which the appropriate improvement solutions were identified and assessed. The measures were dynamically simulated and the results for energy, CO2, cost and comfort compared with the initial scenario, and then being further assessed for their heritage impact to eventually determine the most feasible solutions. To test this method, ten case studies, representative of the identified typological variants, were selected among Oporto’s traditional buildings located in the World Heritage Site.

The fieldwork data revealed that the energy consumption of these dwellings was below the European average. Additionally, the households expressed that their home comfort sensation was overall positive. The simulations showed that the introduction of insulation and solar thermal panels were ineffective on these cases in terms of energy, cost and comfort. At the same time, these measures pose a great risk to the buildings’ heritage value. The most efficient solutions were obtained from behavioural changes and DHW retrofit. The study reinforced the idea that traditional buildings performed better than expected and can be retrofitted and updated at a low-cost and with passive solutions. The use of insulation and solar panels should be disregarded.

Joaquim previously worked as a consultant in Gondomar City Council, managing a €15M environmental requalification project for river Douro waterfront. For the past 10 years and ongoing has been a Lecturer on the modules 'Urban Design I and II' and 'Sites Rehabilitation' at the Integrated Master in Architecture Course of the Oporto Superior Artistic School (MIA-ESAP – ). In May 2014 he co-organized in Porto the International Conference 20th Century New Towns: Archetypes and Uncertainties and co-edited its Proceedings ( ). In the future he plans to become more involved in research related to traditional buildings and urban morphology and their relation with sustainability balanced with teaching activities.

Sofia Aleixo

PhD Thesis title: The investigation of energy efficiency measures in traditional buildings in the Oporto World Heritage Site