Reconverting buildings in a smart key would reduce consumption by 22%

05/05/2023 – Investing in the conversion and renovation of buildings represents, in the near future, an important opportunity to achieve the decarbonisation objectives and energy targets envisaged at European level.

The topic is particularly relevant for Italy, which is still far from the objectives set for 2030, considering that over half of the buildings (56%) is in the classroom energy F and G.

It is therefore more urgent than ever to start the reconversion in an efficient and smart key: reconverting, where possible and convenient, Italian buildings by equipping them with efficient and smart technologies would allow reduce consumption energetic of the 20-24% per year and water ones by 4-5%. This would cut between 19 and 28% of CO emissions2 of the construction sector.

This would also have an impact in economic terms: a total savings between 12 and 14 billion euros (considering 10.8-11.9 billion for energy consumption and 1.6-1.8 billion for water) at the country-system level, equal to approximately 20-22% of Italian household energy expenditure in the 2022. This would translate each year into an overall net saving per capita of around 230 euros.

These are the results of the Strategic Report of the first edition of the Community Smart Buildingthe top-ranked comparison platform started by The European House – Ambrosetti in 2022 precisely with the aim of mapping the industrial, technological and service base connected in Italy to the Smart Building. The Report was presented yesterday in Rome on the occasion of the Final Forum together with the Community partners: ABB, ANCE Varese, APPLiA Italia, BTicino, Celli Group, Comoli Ferrari, KONE and MCZ.

“As emerges from the Report, investing in Intelligent Buildings is a priority, both in order to meet the decarbonisation objectives and to reap all the benefits in terms of economic, environmental and social aspects”, underlines Lorenzo Tavazzi, Partner of The European House – Ambrosetti and responsible for the Community Smart Building. “The Smart Building therefore represents an efficiency and decarbonisation tool and at the same time it is an enabling element of Smart Cities, which represent the necessary development path to guarantee the sustainability and quality of life of citizens”.

“In this sense, Italy has excellent skills in the extended value chain of Smart Buildings (for example for construction, design, electrical material, etc.); this development can represent a very important industrial and competitiveness opportunity for our country. However, to foster this ‘revolution’ is necessary to identify the associated standardsso as to be able to affirm an unambiguous definition of Intelligent Building and a balanced and long-term model of investment support with integrated and coordinated governance of policy competences”.

Technologies for smart transformation

Transformation of buildings can be implemented using current tools and technologies. Italy, in particular, has made considerable progress in the development of these technologies. This is demonstrated by the high share of patents out of the European total, which reflects the country’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable building practices: in 2021 Italy is the third country in Europe for the share of patents in buildings-related climate change mitigation technologies (7.4%), behind only Germany (35.1%) and France (15.4%).

The Strategic Report of the Smart Building Community of The European House – Ambrosetti has mapped 500 technologies applicable to buildings to develop an estimation model on the environmental, economic and social benefits associated with smart buildings. In this way they have been identified 120 individual smart technologies.

The operation allows the interconnection and interoperability between the various technologies to emerge as distinctive aspects of a Smart Building, and to understand, through the associated estimation model, the benefits of each technology in environmental, economic and social terms. In particular, an Intelligent Building is based on technologies such as Building Management Systems (BMS) and digital and management applications which, thanks to the integration and control platforms, are able to interact and integrate with the technologies and products inside the building, characterized in the following clusters: energy production and distribution plants ‘energy, connectivity, cooling and heating, security, water resource management, lighting, comfort and well-being, sensors and actuators, elevators and smart meters.

Three proposals for the diffusion of Intelligent Buildings

The Community Smart Building with its report has identified three policy areas from which it is necessary to start the process of effective and efficient reconversion.

1. Define the standards to establish a single definition of Intelligent Building
The Community proposes to define and expand the standards associated with the Intelligent Building, also including smart technologies and key dimensions, so as to consequently affirm a univocal and holistic definition of Intelligent Building, which sees the building as the sum of all the parts both external components and internal technologies are involved.

Furthermore, it suggests promoting the determination of the energy class of buildings by also including interventions on the products and technologies that characterize them (household appliances, plant engineering, lighting, dispensers, elevators, etc.) and to consider the integration of smart technologies and savings water as foundational themes in the concept of efficiency of a building and to include structured funds with spending capacity for water efficiency in buildings in the building regulations of the Italian Municipalities.

2. Develop an operating model for investment sustainability
The Community calls for the adoption of an “incentivized obligations” scheme as a general operating model, with minimum legal requirements associated with incentive schemes and accompanying measures. The creation of a one-stop shop (“one stop shop”) to guide citizens in the renovation processes and a digital “House maintenance booklet” is also proposed. The introduction of incentives for the players in the extended Intelligent Building supply chain will also be fundamental.

3. Promote industrial supply chains and innovation ecosystems linked to smart technologies for buildings
As a long-term policy, the Community Smart Building proposes the creation of a transversal inter-ministerial coordination body on the issues of energy transition in the building sector and a national hub on Intelligent Building technologies, establishing a center of expertise and technology transfer .

Community Smart Building, final considerations

Fully integrated Smart Buildings are the basic element for the construction of a Smart City whose main objective is a technologically appropriate society for the individual; an individual at the center of a sustainable, inclusive and socially advanced environment, which integrates innovative data-driven services, transforms spaces, maximizing the opportunities for personal choice and privacy, with a view to Society 5.0.

The maximization of the result and the containment of investments impose a integrated design which, starting from materialsthrough installations, devices, technologies and connectivity based on advanced standards, lead to the development of advanced services for the person and the community. From this point of view, all the considerations and ideas that emerged in the first edition of the Community can be transformed into a strategy, guide an action and create value for the country over time.

Source: Press office Community Smart Building di The European House – Ambrosetti

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