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Green technologies and materials for cultural heritage

Materials and methods for the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage can often be energy consuming, not environmentally friendly or even harmful for the health of operators and curators. Moreover, many of these materials and methods prove to be neither durable nor sustainable, often leading to repetitive and costly restoration of artefacts, monuments and heritage sites. Research has already addressed this challenge to a certain extent; yet, the wide range of materials, types of buildings and monuments, and the specific needs of artefacts call for further investigation and tailored solutions.

In this context, and in view of achieving the objectives of the Green Deal, proposals under this topic should provide solutions and explore ways for quality conservation and restoration in a green and sustainable way. They should adopt and apply a holistic approach in conservation of art materials through an interdisciplinary network of knowledge and skills from the perspectives of hard sciences, soft sciences and engineering. Thanks to this, they should develop effective and sustainable strategies that are feasible, user friendly, affordable and safe to the operators and the artefacts, in order to ensure the long-term conservation of and physical access to cultural heritage resources. Monitoring the preservation status of artefacts, monuments and sites with non-intrusive, green tech solutions should also be considered. The proposed materials and methods for remedial or preventive conservation and restoration should be green, durable and sustainable. They should also minimize their environmental footprint[[Consortia could consider their possible contribution to relevant platforms of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in terms of data, indicators and knowledge. This contribution would increase policy relevance and further capitalise on the knowledge developed in projects. On natural capital accounting, life cycle assessment (LCA) and the environmental footprint method when applying LCA see https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/capital_accounting/index_en.htm.]] and impact on health of restorers, curators and craftspeople. Whenever necessary, they should also contribute to energy efficiency and sustainability of monuments, historic buildings and cultural institutions. Elaboration of traditional methods and materials, as well as digital and cutting-edge technologies should be developed or further exploited as necessary.

Taking into account environmental, social and economic impacts, proposals should bring together basic and applied research, social, cultural and entrepreneurial innovation through the involvement of cultural and creative sectors to ensure sustainability. Participation of innovative industry and/or CCIs/SMEs, besides public entities and policy makers, is strongly advised. Awareness raising and further strengthening of citizens’ and young people’s involvement in new or traditional preservation and transmission methods should also be targeted to widen literacy, access to and engagement with cultural heritage.