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Francesco Gasperi - How to raise the number of nZEBs in Europe? Experts provide their insights into probing questions

Contributed by: EEIG

As part of the DIRECTION project's outreach activity aimed at maximising replicability potential, EnginSoft hosted the last replication workshop in the northern Italian town of Trento.
Francesco Gasperi
Habitech – Technical Director
Francesco Gasperi is Technical Director at Habitech and Director at Odatech, the energy efficiency certification body of the autonomous province of Trento.

Does the real estate market reward sustainable buildings? If so, how?

As people are ever more aware about energy efficiency and sustainability, and following the construction industry crisis, the market now considers these features as highly relevant. Since 2007, the real estate market has seen its green stock grow despite obsolescent and low technology buildings.

At the same time, the presence on the market of energy and environmental certifications (LEED, BREEAM, Casa Clima, etc.) has raised awareness on these issues among both insiders (designers, engineers, construction companies) and consumers.

The construction of a sustainable building can bring, at the beginning, to an increase in costs dependent on the degree of sustainability and energy efficiency of the building, but at the same time leads to important benefits both from the economical point of view (rents and sale prices) and from the point of view of indoor air quality and comfort for the inhabitants.

Investors and real estate market see those benefits as crucial when it comes to choose to invest in the construction of a new building or in the renovation of an existing one.

At the same time, energy and environmental certifications (LEED, BREEAM, Casa Clima, etc.) on the market have raised awareness of such issues for both insiders (designers, engineers, construction companies, etc.) and consumers. Although upfront costs may be higher when constructing a sustainable building, there are substantial payoffs in terms of rent and sale prices. In addition, there is greater comfort for users and better indoor air quality.
Investors and the real estate market see these benefits as crucial when investing in the construction of a new building or in the renovation of an existing one.

Which new government initiatives (regulations, rules, incentives) could make buildings with sustainability certification more attractive to public and private entrepreneurs?

An incentive scheme can have the advantage of pulling the market and steering the building sector through a long and complicated change.

I think that if schemes are able to adapt to different contexts and give rise to novel solutions, they can go much further than inflexible regulations. All types of entrepreneur would be sensitive to schemes which are able to quantify and demonstrate the many advantages of sustainable buildings.

We should stress the importance of educating a new generation of designers, skilled workers and users who are sensitive to and aware of sustainability choices. Greater awareness of these issues would help root sustainability in the key value factors of a building.

How do you think sustainability requirements could be integrated in public procurement procedures?

As already happens in the private sector, high quality standards should be required in public procurement in addition to energy and environmental certifications (LEED BREEAM, CasaClima).

Another interesting idea would be to integrate performance warranty contracts (EPC) which would enable companies specialising in regeneration and management of housing stock to participate. This would relieve the owners of the burden of interventions.


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opinion, expert, energy, renewable energy, technology, policy, NZEBs, zero energy buildings
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