iRESIST+ Innovative Seismic and Energy Retrofitting of the ExiSting BuIlding STock

Challenge: WHY the innovation has been developed? What problem is addressed and why has not been not solved before?

Of the current EU building stock, 80% was built before the 90's, while 40% are pre-60's and a considerable amount is classified cultural patrimony, requiring preservation techniques if we want to maintain this heritage for future generations. Upgrading existing EU buildings and cultural heritage is becoming increasingly important due to: (1) their poor seismic performance during recent earthquakes (e.g. in Greece or Italy) that have resulted in significant economic losses (costs for reconstruction in Italy alone are estimated above € 30 billion), severe injuries and loss of human lives; (2) their low energy performance which increases significantly their energy consumption (buildings are responsible for 40% of EU energy consumption). EU governments have started incentivizing seismic retrofit, while energy retrofit is already part of EU policy. A combined strategy and supporting policy for tackling poor seismic and energy performance of existing buildings has yet to be developed.

Solution: WHAT the solution is about? HOW it goes beyond the state of the art?

Replacing existing buildings is prohibitively expensive or not allowed for historical heritage buildings and would have a significant societal and environmental impact. The innovation aims to develop a solution integrating advanced materials for the simultaneous seismic and energy retrofitting of the European building stock. To the present date, energy and seismic retrofitting are treated separately. To achieve cost effectiveness, iRESIST+ develops a novel approach and goes several steps beyond the state-of-the-art by proposing for a hybrid seismic-plus-energy retrofit which combines inorganic textile-based composites with thermal insulation systems. The effectiveness of the proposed retrofitting system will be validated experimentally in a full-scale building using the ELSA reaction wall facility. Moreover, a common approach for building performance classification is proposed, allowing to assess whether energy efficiency and disaster-resilient practices could be integrated.

End-users and examples of uses: WHO will beneficiate/ is beneficiating from the solution? WHERE and HOW the solution has been adopted? How will impact people or end-users? Add as more as possible examples of market and society uptakes

The innovation will be beneficial for all communities affected by seismic risk, but also benefit society as a whole by reduced energy consumption and hence reduced costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Overall, the safety of communities will be improved and social risks reduced, i.e loss of human life and injuries during earthquakes, disruption of occupancy in buildings. House owners and governments renovating structures of societal or cultural importance will benefit from reduced costs of the proposed retrofit compared to separate seismic and energy retrofitting. The innovation will also benefit the construction industry, as the combined retrofit, in combination with adequate policy to incentivise retrofitting, will lead to an increase in demand for retrofit specialists.

Future possibilities: Future market perspectives when the innovation will be fully available or in use

This innovation has the potential to significantly reduce the costs of meeting seismic and energy performance needs simultaneously. In the EU, an estimated 1 million buildings annually need seismic and energy retrofit. The cost for reconstruction in Italy after recent earthquakes is above EUR 23 billion. It is noted that the annual cost of repair and maintenance of existing European building stock is estimated to be about 50% of the total construction budget, currently standing at more than €300 billion. Recent earthquakes led to the loss of lives and significant damage of cultural heritage, which often perform the function of a touristic pull factor as well. The innovation contributes to preservation of the environment by doubling the lifetime of existing buildings, directly minimising the drain on non-renewable construction resources (cement and aggregate), also preventing demolition waste.

Media coverage


Dionysios BOURNAS (


Application sectors:

  • Historical sites
  • Restoration and conservation of CH
  • Environmental sustainability and energy efficiency
  • Risk management


  • Supporting strategies, regulatory frameworks legislation and standards at EU and national levels
  • Supporting environment (Infrastructures, intermediaires, new business opportunities)
  • Regional/Local development
  • Knowledge sharing and education

RRI Dimensions:

  • Science Education


  • Heritage at risk
  • Advanced future technologies for heritage and arts