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Raising number of nZEBs | Experts' insight: DIRECTION project Trento

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

 

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 have become increasingly 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, 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. Entrepreneur across the board would be more sensitive to schemes which would be 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 ground sustainability as 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. This, together with energy and environmental certifications (LEED, BREEAM, CasaClima).

Another interesting idea would be to integrate performance warranty contracts (Energy Performance 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.