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Standardizing the Indoor Climate in Swedish Churches: Opportunities, Challenges and Ways Forward

Authors:
Paper VI.
1. Introduction
The overarching problem addressed in this
paper how scientic knowledge and best
practices regarding indoor climate control
should be shared to end-users in order to
facilitate a sustainable management of cul-
tural heritage. The indoor climate is an es-
sential aspect of the management of his-
toric buildings housing cultural collections.
The use and preservation of the building
and the collection, as well as the nancial
cost and environmental impact related to
energy use are all dependent on the extent
of indoor climate control (e.g. BSI 2012).
Substantial effort has been devoted by the
conservation community to address this
issue. The focus has been on the technical
aspects and considerable progress has been
made in terms of materials science and
Standardizing the Indoor Climate in Swedish
Churches: Opportunities, Challenges and
Ways Forward
Gustaf Leijonhufvud and Tor Broström
A shorter version of this manuscript has been accepted for publication in
the proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Energy Efciency
and Comfort of Historic Buildings, Brussels 2016.
Abstract
Standardization for indoor climate control in historic
buildings has recently taken a new direction with stan-
dards and guidelines that focus more on decision proces-
ses than outcomes. e objective of the paper is to explo-
re and discuss how standards can evolve to both t and
guide decision processes to facilitate a sustainable mana-
gement of Swedish churches. Interviews with engineers
and heritage professionals in the Church of Sweden in
combination with indoor climate monitoring were used
to understand the technical and organizational context.
e results show that the development of process stan-
dards solves some of the problems related to the conven-
tional outcome-oriented approach by opening up for a
wider set of solutions. However, available guidelines are
dicult to apply and integrate in the existing manage-
ment of churches. A stronger focus on strategic feedback
and an increased use of local guidelines are suggested.
Keywords
Indoor climate control; Process standards; Knowledge
sharing; Sustainable management
170
technical solutions (e.g. Camuffo 2014).
To determine an indoor climate control
strategy is oftentimes a complex task, in-
volving social as well as technical dimen-
sions: conicting objectives have to be
negotiated, aspects of management that
commonly are separated have to be in-
volved and different types of expertise is
needed (Leijonhufvud and Henning 2014).
Simple, generic advice is often not suf-
cient to guide decisions. Hence, the sharing
of scientic knowledge and best practic-
es, and their uptake in decision processes
are paramount for the implementation
of more sustainable solutions. However,
the way scientic knowledge is utilized
in these processes is poorly understood.
We argue that the issue of knowledge shar-
ing has not been given sufcient attention
despite its key role, and suggest that it is
an important barrier to improvements of
practice. An important means of knowl-
edge sharing related to indoor climate
control has been the production and use
of guidelines, recommendations and stan-
dards1. While there is an on-going debate
1. In the rest of this paper, we use the term
standard as dened by Brunsson et al (2012,
p. 616): ”…a rule for common and volunta-
ry use, decided by one or several people or
organizations.”. This denition includes do-
cuments issued by international standardiza-
tion bodies as well as institutional guidelines
and recommendations in handbooks. This is
of course a very all-encompassing denition,
but it reects how general recommendations
that have not been ofcially sanctioned still
have had major impact on practice.
on the scientic basis for current museum
standards (Cassar 2011, Bickersteth 2014),
there is little discussion or research about
the ways in which standards and guide-
lines actually are used. Despite efforts
to standardize indoor climate control in
new ways, there is a shortage of empiri-
cal research as well as theoretical discus-
sion about the nature of standardization
and the use of standards related to in-
door climate control in historic buildings.
Universal advice regarding set points for
indoor climate parameters – the “ide-
al climate” approach – have substantial
shortcomings (Erhardt and Mecklenburg
1994, Michalski 2009, BSI 2012, Stani-
forth 2014). It therefore seems to be wise
to produce standards that support deci-
sion making, rather than forego it. There
is ample evidence that a successful devel-
opment of decision support presupposes
a sound understanding of the decision
context, both regarding organizational
and technical aspects (National Research
Council 2009). The diversity of historic
buildings, collections and the ways they
are managed imply that the decision pro-
cesses regarding indoor climate control
unfold in myriad ways dependent on the
specic contexts. Hence, it is unlike-
ly to nd a simple, generic roadmap for
the decision process to establish an in-
door climate control strategy. In practice,
such processes are often intertwined with
other planning and management activi-
ties (Leijonhufvud and Henning 2014).
Given this background, is there a role
at all for standards, which by denition
171
have to give advice about common prob-
lems? A number of recently published
standards indicate that there is a shift in
standardization both in terms of scope
and overall approach, with the ambition
to deliver advice customized to the in-
dividual situation (Staniforth 2014). As
discussed in more detail below, these new
standards and guidelines are increasing-
ly inuenced by ideas of enterprise risk
management. However, previous re-
search has shown that risk management
guidelines have to resonate with existing
management processes to be effective;
otherwise they tend to “live a life of their
own /…/ detached from the practical
reality of actors”(Boholm 2010, p. 252).
The objective of this paper is to explore
and discuss how standards can evolve to
both t and guide decision processes to
facilitate a sustainable management. To
achieve this objective, we discuss the re-
cent progress in the standardization of
indoor climate control for historic build-
ings in general and the European stan-
dardization of the indoor climate in
churches in particular. By drawing on the
scholarly literature on standardization we
identify key issues that both the makers
and users of standards have to address.
The church of Sweden is then used as a
case study, presented in section 3. The ob-
jective of the case study is to identify op-
portunities and challenges with contempo-
rary standards for churches in Sweden. By
combing a qualitative study of how indoor
climate control is managed with a discus-
sion of the use of existing outcome-ori-
ented standards in Swedish churches
we outline both the organizational and
technical contexts in which standards
are to be implemented. We hypotheti-
cally apply the recommendations given
by two different outcome-oriented stan-
dards in two intermittently heated Swed-
ish churches located in different climatic
zones. This exercise is made to identify
the strengths and limitations of the more
traditional outcome-oriented approach.
The nal section relates the results of
the case study with the key issues re-
garding standardization identied earlier.
Based on this analysis, we suggest ways
forward for the standardization of in-
door climate control in historic buildings.
2. Recent development of stan-
dards for indoor climate control
in historic buildings
There exists a patchwork of standards for
indoor climate control in historic buildings
housing valuable collections: recommen-
dations in handbooks, international stan-
dards, national guidelines etc. The aspira-
tion of standard makers has generally been
to describe safe ranges based on scientic
evidence, or, when science has been un-
able to deliver enough facts, on precaution
in combination with practical experience
(Brown and Rose 1996). Efforts to specify
single, universal, “ideal” targets have been
persistent despite “a steady undercurrent
of thoughtful critique” (Michalski 2009, p.
1). Overly simplifying interpretations of
standards have distorted the original inten-
tions. The famous example is how recom-
172
mendations in Gary Thomson’s textbook
The Museum Environment (Thomson
1978) inadvertently contributed to a de
facto standard for museums, the so called
20/50 standard (Bickersteth 2014). The de-
velopment of standards has not been a lin-
ear process where accuracy and precision
has increased along with the development
of scientic knowledge. Rather, there is a
great variety in how standards are written,
how they are intended to be used and -
nally in how they actually are being used in
practice. The following account point at re-
cent developments in standardization and
connects these with ndings from a broad-
er scholarly literature on standardization.
An important distinction to keep in mind
when discussing standards is between the
intention of standard makers and the ac-
tual use of standards. There is a process
of interpretation and translation to make
a standard work in practice, and standards
are generally not used as intended by stan-
dard makers (Timmermans and Epstein
2010). The history of indoor climate stan-
dards tells us that advice or specications
are transformed when applied in practice,
and that widespread adoption of stan-
dards is not to be taken for granted (Wein-
traub 2006, Michalski 2009). Furthermore,
there is a dynamic between practices and
standards in both directions. Brown and
Rose (1996) illustrate in their account of
the development of indoor climate stan-
dards how practices, technologies and rec-
ommendations have co-evolved into a de
facto standard for indoor climates in mu-
seums. This dynamic of standardization
is often neglected. Standards and conven-
tions are at times difcult to distinguish,
and in practice they tend to reinforce each
other (Timmermans and Epstein 2010).
For the purpose of the following discus-
sion, we suggest two different ways in
which outcome-oriented indoor climate
control standards are used in decision-mak-
ing. Firstly, there is the prescriptive use, where
the standard serves as a substitute for de-
cision-making. Planning processes where
specications are needed at an early stage
promote this use of standards (Weintraub
2006). Secondly, the standard can be used
as decision support, supporting the user in a
negotiation between conicting objectives.
The standard provides heuristics or tools,
but the numbers and thresholds included
will be interpreted, negotiated and cus-
tomized to suit local, specic conditions.
A process standard, on the other hand, pro-
vides a roadmap for the decision-making process.
It does not include general threshold or
limits, but stresses the importance of mak-
ing informed decisions in a systematic way.
In the last years there has been an inten-
sied discussion about the optimal set
points for T and RH in museums and
archives, fuelled by the wish of cultural
institutions to become more environmen-
tally sustainable (Bickersteth 2014, Stani-
forth 2014). Suggestions of T and RH in
museums used to be based on precaution
and the potential of existing technologies
(Brown and Rose 1996, Atkinson 2014).
The overarching approach was to identi-
fy safe limits for the indoor climate which
could be transferred to end users in stan-
dards and guidelines. The scientic com-
173
munity is now increasingly focused on a
better understanding of damage func-
tions with the intention to inform evi-
dence-based risk assessment (e.g. Erhardt
et al. 2007, Bratasz 2013, Strlič et al. 2013).
Even though the discussion of set points
historically have been, and to some extent
still is, focused on “proper” museums, it
is relevant for historic buildings housing
collections, such as churches or historic
house museums. Historic buildings have
been treated as exceptions to the rule,
which require special treatment. Suggested
targets in standards and guidelines for mu-
seums and archives have sometimes been
perceived as unachievable ideals to strive
for. The pragmatic way to address historic
buildings in standards has been to widen
the allowable climatic range used for mu-
seums, accepting a slightly higher level of
risk.2 Such separation of buildings and col-
lections into distinct categories amenable
for different levels of climate control is,
however, difcult to apply in practice. In a
recent Dutch study, there exists a contin-
uum of the level of control of the indoor
2. Examples are “Class 2” in The Museum
Environment (Thomson 1978) and ASHRAE
handbook class B, C, D (ASHRAE 2011).
climate in museums, as well as continuum
of the hygrothermal performance of the
building envelopes (Martens 2012). A de-
cisive factor decoupled from the building
properties is the nancial resources for cli-
mate control, which are lacking for many
smaller museums (Bickersteth 2014).
The more recent development in standard-
ization has been a gradual shift away from
denite guidance in the form of universal
numbers toward more exible approach-
es (Michalski 2009, Atkinson 2014, Mi-
chalski 2016). There has also been a shift
in scope, i.e. what phenomenon that is to
be standardized. In the following, four re-
cently published standards are presented.
2.1. ASHRAE Handbook
The major revision made in 2003 of the
ASHRAE Handbook was based upon a
risk based approach to decision-making
for preventive conservation, as described
in Michalski (2009). The revised standard,
as well as its revisions in 2007 and 2011,
essentially consists of risk information
about different types of deterioration.
There is also a table included where tar-
get specications of T and RH are giv-
en for different risk levels. The risks and
Class Climate specication Collections risk and benets
C
Prevent all high risk
extremes
25 < RH < 75%
Temp. < 25°C
High risk of mechanical damage to high-
vulnerability artefacts; moderate risk to most
paintings, most photographs, some artefacts
and most books.
Table 1. An excerpt from target specications of T and RH in ASHRAE 2011.
174
benets associated with different class-
es, ranging from AA (best) to D (worst)
are summarized in the table. In addition,
there is a table called “Classication of
Climate Control Potential in Buildings”
which links the potential to control the in-
door climate with different building types.
As described by Michalski (2009), it was
the intention that the ASHRAE handbook
should incorporate risk management prin-
ciples and common knowledge in the eld.
The information about different kinds of
deterioration given in the standard pro-
vides decision-makers with tools and heu-
ristics to make trade-offs between risks and
benets. However, the demand of simple
and quick advice is also recognized with
the provision of a table with target speci-
cations. There is a risk that target specica-
tions are used without much consideration
of the discussion in the accompanying
text. This was considered in the use of
letters for labelling the different classes:
it was decided to label the class with the
lowest risk AA instead of A, as a way of
informing that A is a good enough alter-
native for those wanting “what was widely
seen as optimal” (Michalski 2009, p. 7).
The ASHRAE standard provides risk in-
formation and heuristics to support deci-
sion-makers as well as target specications
for indoor climate parameters. In doing so,
it uses a similar approach as Thomson did
in the Museum Environment by summa-
rizing existing knowledge, discussing how
it plausibly can be applied in practical set-
tings, and nally suggesting generic advice
about target specications. It emphasizes
the negotiability of the end result as well as
the limitations given by different types of
building envelopes and climatic conditions.
2.2. EN 15757:2010
The European standard EN 15757:2010
Specications for temperature and relative humid-
ity to limit climate-induced mechanical damage in
organic hygroscopic materials (CEN/TC 346 -
Conservation of cultural property 2010)
describes a methodology to establish al-
lowable uctuations based on the histor-
ical climate. It is based on the assumption
that objects in the collection have adapted
to their environment and that by limit-
ing deviations from the historical climate
there will be less risk for further damage
(Bratasz et al. 2007). In contrast to many
other standards targeting the preservation
indoor climate, it is exclusively focusing on
mechanical damage in organic hygroscopic
materials. The method to establish allow-
able RH uctuations in EN 15757:2010
is based on the climate history of a spe-
cic building. Rather than specifying a
constant target level for the whole year or
season, this method is based on a moving
seasonal average around which variations
should be limited. The mean target value
for RH is calculated as a moving aver-
age over a 30 day period, from measure-
ments for at least one year. The aim is to
eliminate harmful uctuations in relation
to the historical climate. A uctuation
from the seasonal average is considered
outside the safe range when the magni-
tude is more than 1,5 standard deviation.
However, the standard says that the target
range never has to be less than ±10 %.
175
Previous standards have based recom-
mendations on a compromise between
different deterioration mechanisms and
different materials (e.g. Erhardt and Meck-
lenburg 1994). EN 15757:2010 deviates
from this approach by concentrating on
mechanical damage and hygroscopic, or-
ganic materials. The standard opens up
for a wider range of outcomes by taking
the specic conditions of the individual
building as the point of departure. How-
ever, it is unclear if adhering to the stan-
dard actually implies a certain allowable
band or if the focus is to present a sys-
tematic method to determine dangerous
uctuations based on the historic climate.
2.3. EN 15759-1:2011
The limitations of standards that attempts
to give universally valid recommendations
about outcomes have resulted in a develop-
ment towards standards that focus on the
decision process. An example is the Euro-
pean standard EN 15759-1:2011 Guidelines
for heating of churches, chapels and other places of
worship (CEN/TC 346 - Conservation of cul-
tural property 2011). The standard describes
in its rst stage a process for how to es-
tablish a target indoor climate, but does
not suggest any numbers. In essence, it
describes a procedure that needs to be fol-
lowed rather than suggesting the outcomes.
In the following stages, the standard de-
scribes how to identify appropriate climate
control strategies and technical solutions.
2.4. PAS 198:2012
The recent UK PAS 198:2012 Specications
for Managing Environmental Conditions for Cul-
tural Collections (BSI 2012) lays out a frame-
work (g. 2) representing a risk-managed,
holistic approach to environmental man-
agement (Bickersteth 2014). It is empha-
sized by the standard how universal ranges
for RH or T cannot be established, based
on their different dependencies on various
deterioration mechanisms. The balance of
different objectives (stability, cost, sustain-
ability, and accessibility) forms the core
of the standard (Ashley-Smith 2016). For
example, it is pointed out how “a univer-
sal safe zone for all collection items” can
result in “unjustiably increased use of
energy” (BSI 2012, p. 9). The standard
does not suggest target specications but
it is, in the same way as the ASHRAE
handbook, accompanied by a summary
of existing knowledge regarding damage
functions in an informative annex. The
scope of this standard is somewhat broad-
1. Assessment of building interiors
2. Specications of indoor climate
3. Determine heating strategy
4. Determine heating system
5. Implementation
6. Evaluation
Figure 1. EN 15759-1:2011. Rather than
specifying an expected end-result, this standard
describes a decision process which aims at identi-
fying an appropriate solution for the individual
case based on a compromise between comfort and
conservation requirements.
176
er than the ASHRAE handbook or EN
15759-1:2011: it includes both the over-
all management process and the decision
process to determine target specications.
2.5. The dilemma of standards: Generic advice
for specic needs
A dilemma pertinent to all standardiza-
tion is to nd the right balance between
rm advice and exibility. This dilem-
ma originates in the basic condition that
a standard is general whereas practice is
specic (Timmermans and Epstein 2010).
Experience from how standards are used
in practice show that more loosely dened
standards with greater adaptability may
work better than rigidly dened standards
(Timmermans and Epstein 2010). This
might be particularly relevant for conser-
vation practice. The problems to be solved
by conservation practitioners call for ap-
proaches where the unique characteristics
of a place guide decision-making (Mason
2002, Muñoz Viñas 2005). Standards,
which by denition aim for some kind of
universal guidance, can therefore prove
difcult to apply in a strict way (Alcántara
2002). This is a challenge pertinent also
to indoor climate control standards for
historic buildings, as the demands on the
indoor climate varies widely between dif-
ferent buildings, not only due to technical
differences, but also due to differences in
how buildings and collections are used and
valued (Leijonhufvud and Henning 2014).
A possible way out of this dilemma is to
standardize organizational processes in-
stead of end-results. To separate between
these two types of standards, we use the
distinction suggested by Brunsson et al be-
tween outcome standards and process standards,
where the former require the user to de-
liver a certain outcome, and the latter is
intended for standardizing organizational
processes (Brunsson et al. 2012). We sug-
gest that there have evolved two separate
ways of making indoor climate standards
more exible. The rst approach has been
to develop more sophisticated outcome
standards that are targeting specic prob-
lems and open up for more elaborate risk
assessment procedures, the second has
been a shift towards process standards.
The production of EN 15759-1:2011 and
PAS 198:2012 are representative for the
latter, with a standardization of processes
instead of outcomes. The analytic separa-
tion between outcome and process stan-
dards is in practice not straightforward,
1. Assign responsibility
2. Develop a strategy
3. Collect data
4. Assess the risks
5. Set an environmental specication
6. Monitor environmental conditions
7. Achieve energy economy
8. Document and retain data
Figure 2. The overall framework in PAS
198:2010 for developing an environmental man-
agement strategy and setting an environmental
specication for a collection.
177
rather the two approaches complement
each other and one standard can contain
elements of both. For example, the use
of EN 15757:2010 is referred to in the
decision process outlined by EN 15759-
1:2011. PAS 198:2010 is accompanied
by “notes and informative annexes” to
inform risk assessment. ASHRAE hand-
book contains elements of advice about
a structured decision process. In sum,
these two approaches to make standards
more exible are in practice not distinctly
separated, and in the four standards pre-
sented above there are variations of both.
While EN 15759-1:2011 and PAS
198:2010 both aim to standardize process-
es, they have a somewhat different scope.
EN 15759-1:2011 is targeting the decision
process needed to determine a target in-
door climate and the implementation of
technical solutions. It is implicit that this
is a one-shot decision rather than a contin-
uous process. PAS 198:2010 has a slightly
different scope. It targets the continuous
management of the indoor climate by
addressing issues of responsibility, strat-
egy development and documentation.
The setting of specications is one step
among others, and the incorporation of
the standard with existing management
processes is mentioned. The focus on
processes in EN 15759-1:2011 and PAS
198:2010 is promising as it opens up for a
wider set of solutions, better customized
to specic situations. However, process
standards bring a new set of challenges.
2.6. The need for complementary knowledge
Process standards are widely used for
quality management and for managing
risks in organizations. They generally
do not require compliance with an ob-
jective or a specic result. Instead, they
standardize procedures, duties and roles
(HerasSaizarbitoria and Boiral 2013).
The requirements of such standards are
abstract and generic to the extent that
almost any organization can adopt them
(Testa et al. 2014). The obvious drawback
with process standards is that an adop-
tion of the standard does not guaran-
tee desirable consequences. Knowledge
and best practices have to be transferred
to the user of the standard via comple-
mentary sources. The user has to rely on
these sources in order to assess the con-
sequences of different courses of action.
To achieve desirable end-results regarding
indoor climate control requires a well-or-
ganized collaboration of qualied pro-
fessionals whom have access to guidance
focusing on specic expert knowledge.
Absolute and easily digestible guidance is
demanded in many practical cases, where
the management organization is lacking
the competences and resources needed
to successfully use the standard. In this
context it means that a non-qualied user
may come up with technical solutions
that are completely inappropriate while
still adhering to a process standard. This
problematic situation is emphasized in
the ASHRAE handbook (2011, pp. 21.5):
“No two collections are identical. /…/
Experienced experts are best equipped
to identify areas of special risk and de-
178
vise solutions, and to properly manage
economic and other trade-offs, although
this level of expertise is not always easi-
ly available”. A possible remedy to this
dilemma is to link process standards with
outcome standards, an approach that is
increasingly common in other domains
of standardization (Brunsson et al. 2012).
2.7. The logic of decisions: risk- or rule-based?
The decision logic implicit in standards
is generally rule-based (Brunsson 2007).
Standards typically offer rules for situa-
tions of choice. The decision process is
essentially about identication; to nd the
appropriate rule for a given situation. Pro-
cess standards deviate from this approach
in that they encourage the user to frame
decisions as a matter of optimizing costs
and benets. In doing so, it is taken for
granted that the user of the standard is
capable of estimating consequences, cop-
ing with uncertainty and making trade-
offs. Decision support tools encouraging
the use of such consequential logic are
implicitly anchored in the view that deci-
sions should be what March (1994, p. 97)
calls “intendedly rational choices”, where
benets and risks of different alternatives
are evaluated. The predominance of such
consequential logic is inscribed in vari-
ous forms of formal risk management
protocols which are increasingly used for
organizational governance (Power 2007).
The idea that decisions in organizations are
and should be intendedly rational choices
is both appealing and pervasive (March
1994, Langley et al. 1995, Brunsson 2007).
In the conservation eld, the idea resonates
with the contemporary emphasis on quan-
titative risk assessment as a foundation
of conservation decisions (Ashley-Smith
1999, Waller 2003), as well as the increased
demand on conservation decisions to be
transparent and evidence-based (Jones and
Yarrow 2013). There are, however, reasons
to be cautious as practitioners might be re-
luctant to use formalized decision frame-
works. Risk management in organizations
tends to be intuitive and experience based,
despite efforts to formalize it (Boholm
2010). Experiences from the construction
sector show how practitioners base their
decisions on previous experience and cur-
rent practice rather than formal decision
tools and management control systems
(Gluch 2005). These experiences suggest
that the key question is if standards which
require risk-based decision making are
powerful (and digestible) enough to rectify
existing decision processes to the extent
that informed risk/benet trade-offs will
substitute conventions and simple rules.
The turn away from a rule-based logic of
decision-making towards the consequen-
tial logic implicit in process standards is
challenging as it requires a high level of
competence of the user. A related phe-
nomenon is that process standards are
more or less void of value judgements.
The setting of performance targets or risk
thresholds is always based on judgements
about values (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1993,
Stirling 1998). This implies that an adop-
tion of a process standard has to be ac-
companied by a discussion of values and
take as departure the objectives of the
179
collecting organization. If the objectives
and values of the organization are di-
verging from those of society as a whole,
there is a risk that sustainable solutions
are not achieved even though the stan-
dard is implemented (MacDonald 2005).
Finally, the use of process standards might
result in more paper work than action.
There can be many different rationales
for adopting a standard, and if a standard
is not perceived by the user primarily as
a tool for achieving improvement of in-
ternal practices its use might not lead to
any signicant changes (Brunsson and
Jacobsson 2000, Alcántara 2002). There
is a risk that standards are used as labels
for demonstrating the accountability of
the organization in the view of external
observers, for example funding bodies.
This might lead to new administrative
processes and changes in discourse, with
little impact on practice (Power 2007).
2.8. Summing up the recent development: chal-
lenges with process standards
The multiple forms and ways of using
standards discussed so far point at a basic
dilemma, where end users expect general
and clear cut advice, whereas the com-
plexity of the problem requires individu-
al solutions based on risk assessment and
negotiation of objectives. Standards have
evolved from simple prescriptions of uni-
versal specications to become more so-
phisticated, informative and exible. The
scope of standards is shifting: there is a ten-
dency to standardize processes on behalf
of outcomes. However, the lack of testing
and evaluation of how standards are used
suggests that this development emerges
mostly from a lack of success with former
approaches. There is therefore a need to
advance the understanding of the role of
standards as decision support tools. To be-
come useful, process standards have to be
complemented with both expert knowl-
edge and value judgements. They require
more resources to be implemented than
outcome standards but promise improved
end-results. If the organization adopting
the standard lack the resources needed
for a successful use of a process stan-
dard, it might not lead to improvements.
3. Case study: Indoor climate
control in Swedish churches
The Church of Sweden owns and manag-
es, in total, 3384 churches, of which 2976
are protected by the Cultural Heritage Act
because of their cultural heritage values3.
In most of these churches there are con-
icting objectives associated with indoor
climate control. The use of a church has
to be balanced with objectives for preser-
vation, on an oftentimes tight budget. In-
terestingly, there are no national standards
or recommendations for the indoor cli-
mate formally endorsed by the Church of
Sweden. Arguably, the organization should
therefore have a potential to improve
building management by using indoor cli-
3. In the rest of the paper, the term Swedish
churches will refer to churches in Sweden
built before 1940 and owned by the Swedish
church.
180
mate control standards. Considering this
situation there is a timely opportunity to
discuss the recent development of in-
door climate control standards from the
viewpoint of the organization as a whole.
Both the technical and organizational con-
texts are outlined in order to understand
the needs and challenges of improved in-
door climate control. The following sec-
tion uses two Swedish churches as exam-
ples to illustrate the challenges with the
application of existing outcome standards
to determine climate specications for his-
toric buildings. In the next section, we out-
line the organizational context in which
decisions about indoor climate control
are made within the Church of Sweden.
3.1. Challenges with outcome-oriented standards
to determine climate specications
In this section we discuss the application
of two outcome standards (ASHRAE
handbook and EN 15757:2010) in two
Swedish churches, Jukkasjärvi in the
north and Atlingbo in the south (g. 3).
We derive target specications from the
standards, and then discuss the practical
consequences from a hypothetical imple-
mentation of these targets. The objective
is to investigate the use and applicabili-
ty of different types of standards rather
than trying to compare or evaluate them.
The ASHRAE handbook, which is wide-
ly used internationally, and the European
standard EN 15757:2010 were chosen as
the two most relevant standards based on
their applicability for northern climates to-
gether with their wide scope that include
buildings with limited potential for control.
Both standards are briey presented in sec-
tion 2 of this paper. The determination of
target specications from these standards
demands some degree of interpretation
by the user, and we have carefully sought
to use the standards in a plausible way.
For the ASHRAE handbook, climate con-
trol class C is used. This class is suggested
for buildings with no other climate con-
trol than heating and ventilation. The tar-
get specications of class C suggests that
RH should be kept between 25-75 % at all
times. T should be kept below 25 °C. These
ranges are supposed to prevent high risk
extremes in terms of mechanical damage
and biodeterioration. When applying EN
15757:2010, we have used the calculation
to determine allowable ranges for RH and
T suggested in the informative annex A of
the standard. It is not clear in the standard
in which cases this calculation should, or
should not be used. A major difference be-
tween the standards is that EN 15757:2019
exclusively targets mechanical damage to
hygroscopic materials, while ASHRAE
handbook covers all types of damage.
181
Figure 3. The location of Jukkasjärvi and At-
lingbo churches.
3.2. Jukkasjärvi church
Luleå Diocese is situated in the extreme
north of Sweden. During 2009-2011
the indoor climate and energy use in 50
churches in Luleå Diocese were monitored.
The churches in the Diocese illustrate
how the indoor climate is affected by the
climatic conditions in northern Sweden,
which is characterized by long and cold
winters. The extremely dry indoor climate
resulting from heating makes it difcult
to use common recommendations for the
indoor climate. As in the rest of Sweden,
there are no common recommendations
used neither for temperature nor relative
humidity for the churches in Luleå. In
practice, the temperature during services
varies from church to church in an inter-
val from 12 to 22 °C. In Luleå Diocese
some churches are permanently heated,
some intermittently heated and some are
not heated at all and therefore not used
during winter. All churches that are heat-
ed for services during winter become ex-
tremely dry with RH in the middle of the
nave often going below 10%. The mon-
itoring campaign suggests that comfort
has been the overriding priority in most
churches and preservation of the build-
ing and the artefacts have been more or
less neglected in the design and operation
of heating systems. We have chosen the
church of Jukkasjärvi as a specic exam-
ple, but the general argument in relation
to indoor climate control is representative
for all heated churches in the Diocese.
Jukkasjärvi church is a wooden church
built in 1726, located near the 68th lati-
tude, se g 3. The church is intermittently
heated, and in between heating occasions
there is a base heating to a constant lev-
el. Fig. 4 shows temperature and rela-
tive humidity over a year in Jukkasjärvi
church. It is characterized by moderate
short term variations and substantial sea-
sonal variations of RH in an interval be-
tween 5 % and 65 %. The temperature
is kept at a minimum of around 7 ºC and
during services it is raised to around 21 ºC.
The outdoor climate during winter in
combination with comfort requirements
makes it unfeasible to comply with the
ASHRAE class C recommendation to
avoid RH below 25 % in order to reduce
the risk for mechanical damages. The only
182
viable option for maintaining relative hu-
midity over 25 % would be to dramatically
reduce temperatures, well below comfort
levels, or to use humidication. Humidi-
cation would cause secondary risks asso-
ciated with condensation in the building
envelope. Therefore, to use 25 % relative
humidity as a lower limit in Jukkasjärvi
church or the other churches in the Di-
ocese would compromise the use of the
church as a place for worship and thereby
threaten the main condition for its long-
term preservation. The upper limit of 75
% RH is not a problem for this church.
EN 15757:2010 is focused on RH- and
T-uctuations in relation to mechanical
damages. The historical climate is used
to come up with an allowable band for
short-term uctuations which reduces the
risk for further damage to hygroscopic
materials. In g. 5 the suggested method
in EN 15757 has been used to determine
the allowable band of RH for Jukkasjärvi
church. The lower and upper limits are cal-
culated as ± 10 % from the moving 30-day
average. There are a number of short term
departures from the target range related to
the intermittent heating. When the church
is heated, RH drops and when the church
cools off, RH rises above the upper limit
due to moisture released from the build-
ing envelope or visitors during services.
As these excursions from the “allowable
band” are few and modest, only small
changes to the current indoor climate are
needed. The excursions could be mitigated
for example by reducing the heating, pro-
longing the period for cooling off and/
or increased ventilation after services.
Figure 4. Temperature and relative humidity data from the
period 2009-09-01 – 2010-08-31 in Jukkasjärvi church.
The logger was situated in the middle of the nave.
Figure 5. Allowable band of RH uctuations according
to EN 15757:2010 in Jukkasjärvi church. RH data
from the period 2009-09-01 – 2010-08-31. The logger
was situated in the middle of the nave.
183
However, the benets for preservation
of reducing the small excursions over the
allowable band are difcult to assess. To
implement the allowable band as a target
indoor climate is in a practical case rath-
er complicated. The allowable band has
to be translated into thresholds for T and
RH, which is not a trivial task given its dy-
namic character. This translation requires
engineering competence as well as in-
sights to the rationale behind the standard.
For Jukkasjärvi church, an obvious draw-
back with the method suggested by EN
15757:2010 is that long-term uctua-
tions or absolute levels are not consid-
ered risky. There are caveats about these
issues in the standard, but to take these
into account requires a high level of com-
petence from the user of the standard.
The yearly uctuation of RH is not con-
sidered when calculating the allowable
band. This uctuation in Jukkasjärvi
church is exceeding 50 % in the extremely
low region of RH. The coefcient of ex-
pansion in many hygroscopic materials is
greater in this lower region, which increas-
es the moisture related strain in objects in
comparison to uctuations in the mid RH
region (Bratasz 2013). Clearly these long-
term uctuations pose a signicant risk for
mechanical damages, although most dam-
age would already be evident as the current
heating regime has been in place for several
years. Heating buildings in the cold, Nor-
dic, climate will always result in large sea-
sonal cycles of RH, unless humidication
is used. Interestingly, in a study by Silva et
al (2014) almost the opposite is argued:
that the focus on short-term uctuations
makes the standard difcult to apply for
buildings in temperate climates. It is argued
that this is because the standard is based
on studies made in a cold climate, and that
this justies its emphasis on short-term
uctuation over seasonal uctuations.
To sum up the use of the two standards
in Jukkasjärvi church, it can be conclud-
ed that the specications suggested in
the standards should not be used without
modication. In the case of the ASHRAE
handbook, the lower limit of 25 % is not
feasible in a heated church in northern Swe-
den. The application of EN 15757:2010
would only require small changes to the
indoor climate, but a sophisticated control
system is needed. The benets of adher-
ing to the standard are likely small and dif-
cult to assess, while the major threat for
mechanical damages, in this case the year-
ly uctuation of RH, is not considered.
The main priority for the churches in Lu-
leå Diocese, Jukkasjärvi church includ-
ed, is not preservation – it is about how
they can continue to be used as places
of worship given the cost for heating. A
damage survey was made in conjunction
with the measurement campaign and the
results did not show that the existing in-
door climate had a major negative effect
on the painted interiors (Brunskog 2012).
This does not imply that preservation is or
should be neglected, but it is one objec-
tive among others in the decision process.
The climatic conditions in Luleå Diocese
are far off any of the common notions
184
of a ‘normal’ relative humidity level for
preservation. General recommendations
for collections, as those developed for
museums, have not been considered ap-
plicable. This does not imply that there
is no potential for improvement; the
question is how standards can be de-
signed and used to realize this potential.
3.3. Atlingbo church
There are 92 medieval churches on the is-
land of Gotland in the Baltic Sea around
the 57th latitude. A few of these church-
es are permanently heated, but most are
intermittently heated during winter. At-
lingbo church is used as an example of
problems related to intermittent heating
in a humid stone church. The indoor cli-
mate for one year is shown in g 6. The
church was heated on around twelve oc-
casions during the year, with no or little
base heating in between. The indoor cli-
mate is characterized by strong short
term uctuations caused by the intermit-
tent heating and a moderate yearly vari-
ation of RH. RH is above 70 % during
summer and slightly lower during winter.
The application of the specications
from ASHRAE handbook requires no
action in the lower range, as RH is nev-
er near the lower limit of 25 %. The in-
door climate is often above 75 % for
extended periods which points at a risk
for mould and insects. Dehumidication
or conservation heating would be need-
ed in order to reduce RH below 75 %.
The target range proposed by EN
15757:2010 is also shown in gure 6.
The intermittent heating causes a num-
ber of excursions well below the suggest-
ed range. Hence, a compliance with the
standard would limit the possibility of
intermittent heating, which is currently
considered a feasible heating regime for
this church given its use and the cost for
heating. To reduce the short-term uc-
tuations would most likely reduce the
mechanical damage to artefacts in the
church, but this has to be weighed against
the expectations of thermal comfort
and the nancial situation of the parish.
3.4. Outcome standards require interpretation
and thoughtful application to be useful
The ASHRAE handbook and the meth-
od suggested by EN 15757:2010 are
different in the approach and scope,
Figure 6. Temperature, relative humidity and allowable band
of RH uctuations according to EN 15757:2010 in Atlingbo
church. Data from the period 2009-09-01 – 2010-08-31. The
logger was situated in the middle of the nave.
185
but from an applied point of view they
complement each other. ASHRAE pro-
vides absolute limits in the high and low
range whereas the other method focus-
es on reducing short term variations.
The application of the ASHRAE specica-
tions is straightforward and does not pre-
suppose any knowledge or experience from
the user. However in the northern church
its application would not be reasonable. In
the southern church, the ASHRAE guide-
lines point at a serious problem, biodete-
rioration, which has to be addressed. The
application of EN 15757:2010 requires a
certain level of technical competence of
the user to calculate the allowable band.
Furthermore, to control the indoor climate
in order to always stay within the allowable
band is a complex task. In the case of the
northern church an implementation of
the standard would not mitigate the most
obvious risk for mechanical damage, the
yearly uctuation. In the southern church,
an implementation would not be feasible
considering the demand for thermal com-
fort in combination with a lack of money.
In conclusion, we have two cases where a
strict application of a standard would be
inappropriate (ASHRAE handbook in the
northern church, EN 15757:2010 in the
southern church). To sum up these two
hypothetical cases, we make the following
observations applicable to both standards:
- The user has to determine when the
standard is applicable and for what pur-
pose. A standard cannot be used bluntly.
- The user has to be able to decide how
the standard should be used, modify it
based on the requirements of the specif-
ic situation and judge if the benets of
an implementation outweigh the costs.
- The standards will be most useful
if used as decision support rather
than as prescriptive formulas. Espe-
cially EN 15757:2010 seems to be
most useful as an arithmetic tool use-
ful for identifying risky uctuations.
A lesson drawn from this is that universal
guidance regarding the indoor climate al-
ways has to be used with care. It has to be
adjusted to the specics of the local con-
text in order to be useful for effective de-
cision-making. We suggest that the experi-
ence that standards should be chosen and
used with care is not specic for ASHRAE
handbook and EN 15757:2010, but gener-
ic. The following analysis point at some
explanations to why this is the case. To
start with, we acknowledge that there are
knowledge gaps. At the general level, there
will always be difculties related to the
complexity and uncertainty of the damage
functions on which outcome standards are
based (Leijonhufvud et al. 2013, Strlič et al.
2013). However, we suggest that the main
difculty is caused by three key aspects
which go beyond the technical issues.
First, the setting of thresholds for what is
acceptable is a subjective and value-laden
exercise. An irreversible change in an ob-
ject does not necessarily correspond to a
loss of value, and there are good reasons
to separate these concepts (Ashley-Smith
186
1999). Consequently, standards suggesting
limits to reduce risk for damage can hard-
ly be derived by science alone. This is a
phenomenon that is pertinent to all kinds
of regulation about risks (Funtowicz and
Ravetz 1993, Gregory et al. 2006, Millstone
2009). In essence, the judgement of what is
unacceptable should be a matter for deci-
sion-makers and stakeholders, not a virtue
of scientists. Hence, outcome standards
incorporate value judgements which might
be concealed for the user of the standard.
Second, there are in practice always com-
promises and trade-offs needed between
different aspects of indoor climate con-
trol. Such compromising makes it difcult
to use outcome standards where many
aspects already are taken into account
(such as the ASHRAE handbook where
the specications are based on a mix of
deterioration processes). In for example
the Jukkasjärvi case, the major trade-off
is between use of the building, mechan-
ical damage and energy use which leaves
room for a range of possible outcomes.
In Atlingbo church, the main threat is
biodeterioration. To handle these trade-
offs between different objectives requires
that outcome standards support the user
in estimating the impact of different in-
door climates on the collection. An impli-
cation of this is that outcome standards
will complement, rather than substi-
tute, other sources of risk information.
Third, the weight given to different fac-
tors determining indoor climate control,
such as preservation, use and resource
use, varies between the studied church-
es. This variation in how the indoor cli-
mate is controlled is not only due to
physical characteristics of the buildings
or the collections, but also to cultural
and social factors, manifested in norms
and practices specic to the place. Con-
sequently, such variations are difcult to
incorporate in generic outcome standards.
The case studies illustrate how the seem-
ingly simple adoption of plausible science
based recommendations to improve the
indoor climate becomes a difcult under-
taking in practice. While we acknowledge
that it always is possible to nd single cas-
es which represent anomalies in relation
to general advice, and that such advice
cannot be properly evaluated on the ba-
sis of individual cases, we suggest that the
case studies illustrate universal problems,
rooted in the fact that the benets derived
from indoor climate control are valued
quite differently from case to case. As
mentioned above, the notion that universal
guidance is problematic, especially for his-
toric buildings, is not new. These examples
add an explanation of the problem which
goes beyond the mere technical issues.
187
4. The organizational context
of the management of Swed-
ish churches: opportunities and
challenges for future standard-
ization
The Church of Sweden was formally dis-
connected from the State in year 2000.
The building management organization is
highly decentralized. The responsibility to
manage each church lies on the members
of the individual parish. Many parishes
have recently merged into vicariates con-
sisting of multiple churches, partly due to
the decreasing number of members and a
decrease in the use of churches. The man-
agement is to a large extent organized as
a decentralized layman-led activity, both
regarding decision-making and practi-
cal work. The benets and drawbacks of
this situation are continuously discussed
within the organization. One side argues
that the management should be more pro-
fessionalized in order to become more
effective, the other side stresses the im-
portance of local involvement, involving
the members of the parish in decisions
and daily duties (Svenska kyrkan 2015).
The status of churches as cultural heritage
implies both legal protection and nancial
support from the state. All major chang-
es to churches built before 1940 have to
be made in accordance with the Cultural
heritage Act. All such changes require per-
mission from the County board. Further-
more, there is a considerable amount of
money (ca 50 million Euro per year) pro-
vided by tax payers for the preservation
of churches. This funding scheme is cen-
tral for the upgrading and installation of
new climate control systems in churches.
Swedish churches in general house and
display valuable and fragile works of art,
ranging from medieval to contempo-
rary. Despite this fact it is clear that the
preservation aspect has had much lower
priority as compared to most museums.
This is rooted in a historical conict be-
tween the Swedish church and Swedish
heritage authorities about the status of
churches as cultural heritage and/or plac-
es of worship. Thus the expectation on
how churches are used is twofold - as a
place of worship and as cultural heritage.
Swedish churches have been heated for a
little more than a century (Legnér 2015).
The indoor climate control strategies have
generally been decided in ad hoc compro-
mises between cost and comfort, partly
because of a lack of appropriate guidance.
Decisions and interventions have not been
well documented, or available documenta-
tion has not been used which has led to a
repetition of errors (Legnér 2012). There
has been little systematic use of feedback
to improve the overall control strategies.
To further the understanding of existing
decision processes regarding indoor cli-
mate control in the churches, as well as
the role of standards in these processes,
we conducted interviews with a group of
professionals employed at the Diocese
level. The individuals in this group consist
of engineering and heritage profession-
als employed to support parishes with all
aspects of the management of churches.
188
Typically, there is one engineer and one
building conservator employed by each
of the thirteen Dioceses. In total, twenty
interviews were made with engineers and
building conservators employed at the
Diocese level in the Swedish church. The
interviews were made over telephone in
August-September 2014 and lasted about
one hour each. Survey questionnaires were
sent to the interviewees beforehand. This
questionnaire consisted of questions re-
lated to indoor climate control and indoor
climate related risks. The most important
question was a broadly phrased question
about barriers and drivers to improved in-
door climate control in churches. All in-
terviewees were probed to discuss the role
and usefulness of standards, irrespective if
they were used in the Diocese or not. The
interviews were recorded and notes were
taken during the interviews. Selected por-
tions of the recordings were transcribed.
Organizational decits, inadequate de-
cision processes and a lack of in-house
expertise were described as the most im-
portant barriers to improved indoor cli-
mate control by the interviewees. Orga-
nizational decits were often mentioned
in tandem with a lack of professional
competence within the organization.
Generally there is an organizational division
between continuous daily management
and more infrequent projects in relation to
major changes of control strategies and/
or technical systems. The organizational
and nancial framework favour that major
changes of indoor climate control systems
are made as part of a package of other
renovation or conservation work. In these
projects there is a different set of actors
involved than during daily management.
A change in control strategy or the installa-
tion of a new technical system is a one-shot
decision for the individual parish. This is
how one engineer described this problem:
A management perspective is lacking, there are
not enough managers and competence is miss-
ing within the church. One-time clients [Swe.
engångsbeställare] dominate today and that is
not good at all. Management is about doing
things over time and it is not only about techni-
cal things. (engineer)
This status of parishes as one-time cli-
ents with limited competence is a cause
of a weak position in relation to con-
tractors. This leads to problems with the
acquisition of new technical systems as
pointed out by a building conservator.
The combination of lacking procurement skills,
lack of guidelines and overcondent contrac-
tors leads to many problems with new installa-
tions. (building conservator)
The decentralized structure and the di-
vision between daily management and
one-shot knowledge intensive projects
make it difcult to systematically use feed-
back for continuous improvement and
knowledge sharing. There is no system-
atic connection between the permanent
organization responsible for daily man-
agement and the temporary organization
that emerges in connection with renova-
tion projects. The feedback loop between
these two is weak or non-existent. This
results in a problem with knowledge shar-
189
ing within the organization as a whole.
Most churches have a maintenance plan,
but indoor climate control is generally
not included in these. Almost all dioceses
had nished or on-going projects which
were aimed at surveying conditions in the
churches related to the indoor climate,
but there was a difculty to get sufcient
resources for these projects, especial-
ly in the long term due to organizational
and funding constraints. The usefulness
of these projects was however unani-
mously acclaimed by the interviewees.
Now when we have made this comprehensive
survey [of the indoor climates in the churches
of the diocese] , we can look back at it and dis-
tinguish long term changes. This was not pos-
sible before: to know the starting point is very
important. (engineer)
Only one of the interviewees reported
that indoor climate standards were used in
a deliberate or systematic way. The most
common rationale for the unwillingness
to use standards was that they were per-
ceived as too general and not customized
for churches. Handbook recommenda-
tions found in the conservation literature,
even those intended for historic buildings
and churches have been so far away from
the actual conditions in the churches that
they have not been perceived as realistic.
The present situation, with a lack of sys-
tematic decision making, can to some ex-
tent be explained by a complex decision
context with conicting views on the use
of the churches and many stakehold-
ers at local, regional and national level.
It is not clear where the responsibility
for strategic planning of the indoor cli-
mate is or should be. As a result, there
has been no systematic evaluation of the
indoor climate in the churches. Problems
have been dealt with on an ad hoc basis.
Based on the above analysis we argue that
there are three major issues for the Church
of Sweden in relation to standardization:
- The management processes for dai-
ly operation and renovation of indoor
climate control systems are decoupled.
Standards for indoor climate control
have to address both processes, link them
together and integrate them better with
the regular management of churches.
- A lack of evaluation and feedback re-
garding indoor climate control is ev-
ident at both the level of individual
churches, as well as on aggregated levels.
- There is a need for simple and un-
ambiguous advice to support par-
ishes. The lack of competence and
lack of resources make demand-
ing decision processes unattainable.
5. Discussion and ways forward
The review of recent standards for indoor
climate control in historic buildings in
combination with the results of the case
study demonstrate that neither is the scope
for indoor climate standards a priori given,
nor their role in decision-making. The case
study showed how outcome standards,
used in a prescriptive way, may cause
190
more problems than they solve. At the
same time, there are not enough resourc-
es or competence available in the Swedish
church to make customized, risk-based,
decisions about target specications and
technical solutions for individual church-
es. Is there a way out of this dilemma, and
what roles might standards play? Based on
the review of recent standards and the re-
sults of the case study we suggest the fol-
lowing ways forward for standardization:
5.1. A landscape of standards
For long, the purpose of an indoor climate
standard was undisputed: to recommend
targets for the indoor climate. Some recent
standards, acknowledging the complexity
of the problem, are deviating from this
approach by focusing on decision process-
es. Instead of debating if one approach is
superior to the other, standard makers and
users of standards should embrace the
idea that standards with different scopes
can be used in parallel to serve different
purposes at different levels of abstraction
(van Gigch et al. 1996). At the top level
there can be management standards that
dene processes, duties and roles for the
long term management. The decision pro-
cess to come up with target specications
and technical solutions could be the scope
of another standard. Outcome standards
focusing on various damage functions
could be used as decision support tools,
complementing other sources of risk in-
formation. Finally, there will probably al-
ways be a demand for standards that give
simple and universally applicable advice.
We suggest that there is a need for all these
kinds of standards; the question is when
and how to use them. The idea of such a
landscape of standards opens up for the
individual standard to be more specic
about its scope, and thereby more focused.
5.2. A focus on feedback
The concept of continuous improvement
is a core feature of quality management
(ISO 2009). Brouwer and Coppen (2008)
have showed the importance of differ-
entiating between strategic and tactical
improvement when dening continuous
improvement in management standards.
Strategic improvement is about dening,
implementing and evaluating the overall
strategy. Tactical improvement consid-
ers the ne-tuning of operational pro-
cesses. A lack of strategic improvement
leads to sub-optimization and in the
end to a departure from basic principles
for sustainability (MacDonald 2005).
A problem evident in the management of
Swedish churches is the lack of systematic
evaluation of parameters with relevance for
the objectives of indoor climate control. If
evaluation of indoor climate control sys-
tems are performed, it is almost exclusive-
ly to evaluate whether the indoor climate is
in accordance with specied targets (tacti-
cal improvement), not whether the targets
are the right ones (strategic improvement).
This results in a situation where technical
systems and control strategies are imple-
mented, but it is not known if the conse-
quences of the implementation are in line
with strategic objectives such as energy
use, preservation and use of the building.
191
We suggest that indoor climate control
in Swedish churches should focus more
on strategic improvement, and that this
approach should be acknowledged and
supported by standards. Tactical improve-
ment should be part of any indoor climate
control system already and it is also a part
of standards today. In order to achieve
strategic improvement there is a need to
use feedback of relevant parameters. We
suggest that the addition of such feed-
back loops is both necessary and possi-
ble, and that the main feedback needed is
about preservation, use and resource use.
Strategic and tactical improvement for in-
door climate control and their respective
feedback loops are illustrated in gure .
5.3. Local guidelines for local needs
Process standards require professional
competence, resources and an organiza-
tion that is not available in most Swedish
parishes. There is, however, a potential to
use process standards at a higher level in
the management organization. For church-
es which are similar in construction, use
and geographic location there is a poten-
tial to use process standards to establish
local guidelines for the set of churches
in question (for example at the Diocese
level). This simple solution could help to
overcome the problem that process stan-
dards are time and resource demanding in
their implementation. It may not be fea-
sible to go through all suggested steps in
a process standard such as EN 15759-1
for every Swedish church. However, there
is an option to use a process standard to
establish common advice regarding set
points for a specic type of church, with-
in the same climatic zone, with similar
use and demands for thermal comfort.
In reality such local praxis is already used
in many Dioceses but it is not formal-
ized and used in a systematic way. This
approach would overcome some of the
problems associated with the production
Fig. 7: The two levels of continuous improvement for indoor climate control.
192
of individual guidelines for each building
which, given the decentralized manage-
ment of Swedish churches and the lack
of resources, almost certainly would fail.
5.4. Evaluating standards
We have pointed out that the recent de-
velopment of process standards may
solve some of the problems related out-
come standards. However, new challeng-
es arise. It is not known what the impact
will be of these new standards, and con-
sequently there is a need to evaluate how
they are used and the consequences that
follow. The review of recent standards
and the case study point at the need for
and means of further research on how
standards are used and implemented. A
feedback loop at the strategic level could
provide input for a third level of contin-
uous improvement, that of evaluating
and improving standards and guidelines.
Standards and guidelines are and will be
an important tool for quality assurance in
cultural heritage management. We have
tried to point at some possible areas of
improvement relating to indoor climate
control of Swedish churches. However,
the issues raised in this paper have bear-
ing on other areas of cultural heritage
management subjected to standardisa-
tion. While there is a discussion about the
scope and role for standards in conserva-
tion, there is a lack of empirical knowl-
edge on how standards actually are used
in conservation, how they affect practic-
es and the organizational processes that
forms the infrastructure for decisions.
The intensive work currently going on in
national and international standardisation
bodies needs to be paralleled by a reex-
ive debate within the conservation com-
munity about the role of standards and
guidelines, as well as empirical research
targeted on understanding the dynamics
of knowledge and technology transfer.
5.5. Acknowledgments
The present investigation has been sup-
ported by the Swedish Energy Agen-
cy as part of the national research pro-
gram on energy efciency in historic
buildings and by the European Com-
mission as part of the Seventh Frame-
work Program in the project Climate for
Culture, Grant agreement no.: 226973.
193
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