New interventions to reduce consumption of apartment buildings

5 Oct 2015

There are 1 million apartment buildings in Italy, representing around 70% of Italian Homes. The Institute for Renewable Energy of the EURAC is leading a European project that aims to reduce consumption of these structures by up to 80% using a new package of measures for improving energy performance.

The Institute for Renewable Energy at EURAC has a strong track record of research and development of practical solutions to reduce energy consumption through renovation, or retrofit. They have conducted work on residential buildings, historic buildings, and shopping centres. In their new 4 year project, BuildHeat, the team will investigate the renovation of apartment buildings, which affects 30 million Italians. The 7 million Euro project brings together 18 partners in a project funded by the European Programme for Research, Horizon 2020. The goal is to create packages of interventions and tools that are immediately usable by tenants: using a “plug and play” model to allow solutions that are easily installed.

EURAC researchers are investigating two systems for heating, cooling and mechanical ventilation, which collect, accumulate and use solar energy in individual apartments. “The apartments will be air-conditioned by systems that store thermal energy in small tanks and that will be powered through solar thermal collectors or photovoltaic panels,” explains Roberto Fedrizzi from EURAC and Project Lead for the BuildHEAT project. Other renovation interventions include the construction of a prefabricated solution for the insulation of the facade of the building, which in addition to lowering the fuel consumption of the structure, which will accommodate solar thermal collectors or photovoltaic panels.

Another aspect of the project is the exploration of best practices to attract private funding for renovation. “At present, the technologies for the reduction of energy consumption of the buildings are already available,” continues Roberto Fedrizzi, “once identified packages that optimize the renovation in terms of energy and cost, the need now is to attract funds to enable the use of these technologies.”

This work will be delivered by EURAC will cooperate with SiTI – Istituto Superiore sui Sistemi Territoriali per l’Innovazione, a non-profit organization linked to the Politecnico of Turin, to collect, study and implement the best strategies to attract investment of private funds.

“Today, such actions often use public funds or capital of stakeholders –which are becoming increasingly scarce. We’re going to consider how we might stimulate the investment of private funds interested in financing projects related to energy efficiency and renewable energy. ” Technical operations and financing strategies will be initially tested in three case studies in apartment buildings consist of 50 to 80 units located in Rome, Zaragoza and Salford.

The new energy paradigm for urban regeneration

5 Nov 2015 - "The real estate sector is going through a moment of crisis: public investment blocked, financial difficulties, disruption of local authorities, difficult access to credit for individuals and businesses, oppressive taxation, population aging, obsolescence and poor energy efficiency of the existing housing stock.This leads to a great opportunity to design new business models, able to free up resources that can enable the cities regeneration."Our partner Siti was interviewed ... read more
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