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Lucchi E.,Polytechnic of Milan | Lucchi E.,EURAC Research
Energy and Buildings | Year: 2016

In the contemporary age, the museum is dealing with unexpected challenges, related to the transformation of social structures, educative methods and cultural diffusion. Close to traditional structure, educational centers, amusement spaces, bookshops, conference rooms, shops, and restaurants arise. Refurbishment, restoration, and conversion of heritage buildings into exhibition spaces involve a series of conservation risks. Environmental and energy quality depends on achieving the right balance among several parameters, such as: public enjoyment, human comfort, communications, preventive conservation, energy consumption, and safety precautions. The research presents a simplified evaluation method for assessing the environmental and energy quality of museum buildings. It is structured in three phases: 1. Environmental performance evaluation considering the needs of preventive conservation and human comfort; 2. Energy performance evaluation; 3. Assessment of the environmental and energy quality, considering the integration between the previous evaluations. The tool has been applied in fifty European museums, to compare environmental and energy performance and identify the most common problems, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. The method suggests a strategic and repeatable approach for balancing care, enhancement, and energy efficiency of cultural heritage. © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Paloscia S.,CNR Institute of Applied Physics Nello Carrara | Pettinato S.,CNR Institute of Applied Physics Nello Carrara | Santi E.,CNR Institute of Applied Physics Nello Carrara | Notarnicola C.,EURAC Research | And 2 more authors.
Remote Sensing of Environment | Year: 2013

The main objective of this research is to develop, test and validate a soil moisture content (SMC) algorithm for GMES Sentinel-1 characteristics. The SMC product, which is to be generated from Sentinel-1 data, requires an algorithm capable of processing operationally in near-real-time and delivering the product to the GMES services within 3. h from observation. An approach based on an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) has been proposed that represents a good compromise between retrieval accuracy and processing time, thus enabling compliance with the timeliness requirements. The algorithm has been tested and subsequently validated in several test areas in Italy, Australia, and Spain.In all cases the validation results were very much in line with GMES requirements (with RMSE generally <. 4%SMC - between 1.67%SMC and 6.68%SMC - and very low bias), except for the case of the test area in Spain, where the validation results were penalized by the availability of only VV polarized SAR images and MODIS low-resolution NDVI. Nonetheless, the obtained RMSE was slightly higher than 4%SMC. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

To lighten up your week and give you even more energizing thoughts, we publish interviews from our partner The Beam twice a week. The Beam takes a modern perspective at the energy transition, interviewing inspirational people from around the world that shape our sustainable energy future. This week, Anne-Sophie Garrigou, journalist at The Beam, interviewed Wolfram Sparber, Head of the Institute for Renewable Energy at The European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano (EURAC), about the Institute and his thoughts on the future of renewable energy. What are the main goals of the Institute for Renewable Energy of EURAC Research? EURAC Research is a private research center located in Bolzano, South Tyrol. The aim of the Institute for Renewable Energy is to carry out applied research on advanced energy systems to support the application of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and assist decision-makers through scientific consultancy. The field of activities are energy efficiency in buildings, working as well in the niche application of historic buildings, sustainable heating and cooling systems, PV systems and energy systems on urban and regional scale. The Institute works closely with industry partners and other research centers in order to develop new energy systems, applications and products. What technological breakthroughs will make a big change in the field of production and storage of renewable energy? In our opinion, there will not be one unique technology, which will change the energy scheme. The energy world is a complex system, where further evolutions in all main sectors are needed. We have to consider electricity, heating & cooling as well as transportation. Evolutions in the field of energy production, distribution, storage and efficient consumption is necessary. In the field of electricity production, it is necessary to apply existing technologies on a large scale in order to widely substitute fossil fuels in the coming decades. Technology evolution will contribute to continue the cost reduction curves of recent years. Regarding storage, in our opinion, distributed storage possibilities (e.g. electric vehicles) and application of demand side management will keep the necessity of large-scale centralized storage infrastructure limited. A large potential exists and has until now been tapped in a limited way in the field of energy efficiency measures and application of renewable technologies in the heating sector. This sector is the most important in terms of ‘final energy consumption’ in Europe because it accounts for over 40%. The big question here is how to bring the technologies and methods for building refurbishment from single buildings to massive and large scale applications in a cost effective way. In this field, we are working on several projects in the development of prefabricated multifunctional façades. The target is to produce individual façade components in an industrial way, including cost control and quality assurance. The façade should allow high energy efficiency, high comfort, attractive aesthetics, eventually the integration of solar active elements, heat distribution systems or air ventilation systems. Furthermore the disturbance time during construction on site for the tenants living in the building should be reduced to single days. This is possible as large scale prefabricated elements are fixed on the existing walls of the building. Through district heating networks, thermal storage, cogeneration and heat pumps it is further possible to interlink and optimize the thermal and electrical grid management. In this field we are working, for example, on very low temperature district heating systems with multiple heat sources, in combination with heat pumps allowing to reduce heat losses of the grid and to better integrate waste heat from the industry or service sector ( According to your research, which branch of renewable energy offers the best hope for our energy future? Again, there is not a single branch; the potential of a renewable energy source or system is strictly related to the characteristics and the circumstances of a given country. Electricity from solar PV and wind has shown in recent years in many countries how substantial their contribution can be. Geothermal energy and solar thermal power plants are in many geographical areas used only in a limited way. Biomass and biogas plants can be integrated well in regional energy concepts. With regard to heating and cooling, advanced district heating systems offer the possibility to include several renewable energy sources and waste heat sources, and to deliver this energy to the point of consumption. Solar thermal and geothermal systems have a large potential, which is still widely unexploited in Europe. On single building level, heat pumps will probably play a relevant role in the next years. -> Subscribe to The Beam. Tri-annual subscriptions for the Beam from 10€ to 20€ per edition. Help us #buildthebeam Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store!   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

News Article | August 22, 2016

The 5,300-year-old Tyrolean Iceman, whose body was found poking out of a glacier in the Italian Alps in 1991, incorporated hides from at least five domesticated and wild animal species into his apparel, a new genetic study finds. Comparing mitochondrial DNA extracted from nine ancient leather fragments with DNA of living animals revealed the makeup of Ötzi’s clothes and a key accessory, says a team led by paleogeneticist Niall O’Sullivan. Mitochondrial DNA typically gets passed from mothers to their offspring. Little is known about what people wore during Ötzi’s time. The findings provide a glimpse into how ancient European populations exploited domesticated animals to make clothes and other items. Ötzi’s coat consisted of hides from at least three goats and one sheep, the scientists report August 18 in Scientific Reports. This garment may have been periodically patched with leather from whatever animals were available, the team suggests. Goats also provided skin for the Iceman’s leggings, the new analysis indicates. A sheepskin loincloth and a shoelace derived from European cattle round out Ötzi’s attire made from domesticated animals. As for wild animals, Ötzi wore a brown-bear cap and toted a quiver made from roe deer. It’s impossible to know if the ancient man attached any special meaning to brown bears, “but he may have been an opportunistic hunter or a scavenger,” says O’Sullivan, of University College Dublin and EURAC Research in Bolzano, Italy. A 2012 analysis of proteins from fur samples taken from Ötzi’s clothing identified sheep and a goatlike animal called a chamois as sources for the Iceman’s coat. A team led by biochemist Klaus Hollemeyer of Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany, also pegged goats and dogs or wolves as sources of skin for Ötzi’s leggings. Disparities between Hollemeyer’s and O’Sullivan’s studies may stem from the two groups having sampled different parts of patchwork garments. In addition, the new report used advanced techniques for extracting and analyzing ancient DNA. That enabled O’Sullivan’s team to retrieve six complete mitochondrial genomes from Ötzi’s leather belongings. O’Sullivan’s investigation “opens a new field of potential identification procedures for mammalian species in ancient leathers and furs,” Hollemeyer says. A roughly 4,200-year-old legging found in the Swiss Alps in 2004 also features goat hide. Mitochondrial DNA extracted from that garment came from an ancient line of European goats that has largely been replaced by a genetically distinct goat population, a team led by archaeologist Angela Schlumbaum of the University of Basel in Switzerland reported in 2010. The Swiss legging was found with pieces of bows and arrows, woolen clothes and many other artifacts where an ice patch in a mountain pass had partly melted. No human bodies have been found there. “Possibly, goat leather was most comfortable” as legging material, says University of Bern archaeologist Albert Hafner, a coauthor of the Swiss legging study. “Modern leather trousers often use goat as well.”

Castellarin A.,University of Bologna | Pistocchi A.,GECOsistema srl | Pistocchi A.,EURAC Research
Hydrological Processes | Year: 2012

The paper presents an analysis of 17 long annual maximum series (AMS) of flood flows for Swiss Alpine basins, aimed at checking the presence of changes in the frequency regime of annual maxima. We apply Pettitt's change point test, the nonparametric sign test and Sen's test on trends. We also apply a parametric goodness-of-fit test for assessing the suitability of distributions estimated on the basis of annual maxima collected up to a certain year for describing the frequency regime of later observations. For a number of series the tests yield consistent indications for significant changes in the frequency regime of annual maxima and increasing trends in the intensity of annual maximum discharges. In most cases, these changes cannot be explained by anthropogenic causes only (e.g. streamflow regulation, construction of dams). Instead, we observe a statistically significant relationship between the year of change and the elevation of the catchment outlet. This evidence is consistent with the findings of recent studies that explain increasing discharges in alpine catchments with an increase in the temperature controlling the portion of mountain catchments above the freezing point. Finally, we analyse the differences in return periods (RPs) estimated for a given flood flow on the basis of recent and past observations. For a large number of the study AMS, we observe that, on average, the 100-year flood for past observations corresponds to a RP of approximately 10 to 30years on the basis of more recent observation. From a complementary perspective, we also notice that estimated RP-year flood (i.e. flood quantile (FQ) associated with RP) increases on average by approximately 20% for the study area, irrespectively of the RP. Practical implications of the observed changes are illustrated and discussed in the paper. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Pistocchi A.,GECOsistema srl | Notarnicola C.,EURAC Research
Natural Hazards | Year: 2013

Avalanche hazard and risk mapping is of utmost importance in mountain areas in Europe and elsewhere. Advanced methods have been developed to describe several aspects of avalanche hazard assessment, such as the dynamics of snow avalanches or the intensity of snowfall to assume as a reference meteorological forcing. However, relatively little research has been conducted on the identification of potential avalanche release areas. In this paper, we present a probabilistic assessment of potential avalanche release areas in the Italian Autonomous Province of Bolzano, eastern Alps, using the Weights of Evidence and Logistic Regression methods with commonly available GIS datasets. We show that a data-driven statistical model performs better than simple, although widely adopted, screening criteria that were proposed in the past, although the complexity of observed release areas is only partly captured by the model. In the best case, the model enables predicting about 70 % of avalanches in the 20 % of area classified at highest hazard. Based on our results, we suggest that probabilistic identification of potential release areas could provide a useful aid in the screening of sites for subsequent, more detailed hazard assessment. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Stoll M.,EURAC Research
Technological Developments in Networking, Education and Automation | Year: 2010

Due to globalization, stronger competition, increased complexity, information explosion, interconnection and extensive use of technology, information management is a main performance driver and key differentiator for sustainable organization success. Data, information, knowledge and asset are exposed to most different threats. Therefore more than 5800 organizations worldwide are implementing an information security management system in accordance with ISO/IEC 27001. Many organizations of different sizes are implementing also standard based management systems, such as ISO9001 or others. On the basis of several practical applications in most different organizations are described applied methods and experiences by implementing suitably holistic management systems for risk prevention and quality improvement. This promotes effectiveness, efficiency, legal conformity, information security awareness and organization development including improved information security for sustainable organization success. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010.

Picco M.,University of Bergamo | Lollini R.,EURAC Research | Marengo M.,University of Bergamo | Marengo M.,University of Brighton
Energy and Buildings | Year: 2014

The paper analyses the benefits of the application of energy analysis in the early-stage building design, in particular for large commercial buildings. The research highlights the barriers that prevent this early integration and finally proposes the development of a methodology tailored around the optimization of energy efficiency during early-stage design. In general, the research aims to identify (a) the accuracy obtainable through progressive simplifications of the building model, (b) the most significant building parameters with respect to the model result accuracy and (c) the maximum number of simplifications able to ensure the respect of time requirements dictated by early-stage building design and to maintain an acceptable level of correctness. Here, as detailed example of simplification process, a case study of a large multi-storey office building is modelled starting with a previous detailed simulation performed through EnergyPlus and Openstudio software. The detailed model is then analyzed and progressively simplified. At each progressive simplification step, a comparison with the detailed results is given in terms of building energy needs and power curves of the system. The analysis is performed based on three different system hypotheses: a single-zone system and a variable air volume system with and without humidity control. The quantitative differences between detailed and simplified model are analyzed to determine the quality of the results of the simplified model. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

D'Antoni M.,EURAC Research | Ferruzzi G.,EURAC Research | Bettoni D.,EURAC Research | Fedrizzi R.,EURAC Research
Energy Procedia | Year: 2012

One of the major barriers to a broader market penetration of solar thermal systems is the few information on their long-term performance and reliability. Several works have shown a significant mismatch between foreseen and monitored system performance, mainly due to the lack of an accurate numerical validation analysis or to installation issues. Thus, it is necessary to implement validation and verification processes in the design of solar thermal systems, pointing out quantitative indexes on which a comparison between monitored and simulated outputs has to be based. This work aims to contribute to the discussion, presenting a numerical validation procedure that can be applied and replicated to any monitored solar thermal system component. In particular, here it is tested to the validation of an immersed heat exchanger of a water storage tank. The final comparison between monitored and simulated quantities has shown a very good agreement in terms of storage fluid temperatures and heat transfer rate, with a difference of less 2% on the energy exchanged during one exemplary monitoring months. © 2012 The Authors.

Fusiello A.,University of Verona | Irsara L.,EURAC Research
Machine Vision and Applications | Year: 2011

This paper deals with the problem of epipolar rectification in the uncalibrated case. First the calibrated (Euclidean) case is recognized as the ideal one, then we observe that in that case images are transformed with a collineation induced by the plane at infinity, which has a special structure. Hence, that structure is imposed to the sought transformation while minimizing a rectification error. Experiments show that this method yields images that are close to the ones produced by Euclidean rectification. © Springer-Verlag 2010.

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