Renovate Italy is the first Italian organisation created to draw up energy requalification and efficiency policies. Promoted as part of The Renovate Europe Campaign, Renovate Italy intends to promote innovative tools and approaches in Italy to cut energy waste in existing buildings and emissions, through development of a national and regional regulatory plan. Renovate Italy spokesperson Cecilia Hugony told us about the program. The first goal of Renovate Italy is energy requalification in Italy. What is the current situation of Italian building stock? Italian buildings consume 37{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of the energy used in Italy. Of this huge amount, about 70{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} is used for heating in winter and air-conditioning in summer. This isn’t surprising given that almost 70{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of our buildings were constructed before the introduction of any regulation on building energy efficiency, and that 84{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of the opaque surfaces covering these buildings have not undergone any work for more than 15 years. It is no coincidence that Italy is the second country in Europe (after Belgium) for energy loss per residential unit. This huge waste of energy, which has a significant impact on our trade balance, could be dramatically reduced with a serious program for the requalification of inefficient buildings. What steps will you be taking to improve efficiency? Renovate Italy will act on two fronts. At cultural level, it will organise awareness-raising and information campaigns targeting decision makers, referring to the debate in Europe and experiences in the other EU countries on these issues. At political level, it will contribute to drawing up the following proposals: – the formulation of an ambitious nationwide program for the energy requalification of public and private buildings, to enact article 4 of the Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU), which sets the results expected in terms of energy efficiency and investment generated; – the approval of a new long-term program of stable incentives for private and public buildings, accessible to everyone, not for simple construction replacements, but for far-ranging requalification, which is what achieves the greatest reduction in consumption, creates the largest number of jobs and prevents climate-altering emissions; – the creation of specific financial tools, guaranteed by public funds, at low rates and for terms proportionate to the pay-back time of energy requalification operations in buildings (15-20 years); – the organisation of information campaigns, to raise awareness about the benefits of lower energy consumption in buildings. Your activities stem form a series of extremely interesting unpublished studies. One is by the European Commission. Can you tell us about these studies? Our work is supported by a growing number of studies, given that these issues are highly topical now that energy requalification is one of the specific objectives of the new European Commission’s Energy Union plan. We recently presented two very important studies in Italy for the first time. The first, by the Joint Research Centre, analyses the benefits of development of an energy requalification market for the construction sector, whose European-wide crisis is the cause of the continent’s economic stagnation and high unemployment rates. The second study is a report on building energy efficiency, based on the results of the Energy Efficiency Finance Investment group, promoted by the European Union Energy DG and by the UN, to recommend ways to foster investment in energy efficiency. Energy sustainability is one of the objectives Europe has to reach by 2020. What is your opinion about the progress made so far? A great deal has been done at regulatory level, even though the legislator’s attention in recent years has focused on reducing consumption in new buildings, which today have a high efficiency level. However, we have to consider that at European level the building demolition rate is less than 0.1{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622}: it has been calculated that from 5{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} to 90{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of buildings existing today will still be in use in 2050. So clearly, unless we work to bring today’s buildings into line with energy regulations, we’ll never be able to reach the environmental objectives of 2030 and 2050. On these questions, there is a complete lack of operating tools and coordination between local and national level. Renovate Italia will be supported by associations, institutions and agencies and is a very ambitious project. Do you worry that this spirit of collaboration could be undermined by the personal interests and provincialism typical of Italy? Renovate Italy is supported by a variety of different players: businesses, trade associations, environmentalist associations. Certainly, each one has their own interests in this market, which strengthens their motivations and the resources they make available. Personally, I think the committee’s assembly format and the participatory model based on operational rather than economic contributions is a guarantee of healthy collaboration on the project. How will you communicate your project and which tools will you use to network with the audiences you are targeting? We are working on a communication strategy, targeting the scientific community and politicians. Renovate Italy is itself a networking tool, since it brings all stakeholders together on the energy requalification project.]]>