Italy currently houses 12.2 million residential buildings, featuring 31 million homes, 72% of which was built before 1980, at a time when there was no legislation on the energy saving of buildings. This is the figure that Andrea Guderzo, General Manager, Clivet Mideast FZCO, presents in an effort to highlight the importance the retrofit segment holds in the country’s energy-efficiency directives. He says: “The 2018/844 / EU Directive, published on June 19, 2018, requires European countries to develop a long-term strategy to support the renovation of residential and non-residential buildings, both public and private in order to obtain decarbonised and energy-efficient buildings by 2050, and to facilitate the transformation of existing buildings into almost-zero-energy buildings.”
This, Guderzo stresses, offers a great opportunity for the HVAC market, in view of the technological innovations in the fields of heating, cooling, air renewal and purification and domestic hot water production and the very compact units, which can contribute towards achieving high levels of global efficiency. “In Italy, modern construction technologies have brought great improvements in the insulation of building envelopes and a substantial reduction in the thermal requirements of buildings,” he says. Almost 70% of the energy needs of a building is used to regulate the indoor climate. The challenges real estate is facing are: reducing consumption to zero by working on the envelope, finding low-impact energy sources, ensuring comfort and guaranteeing economic sustainability of design choices. In this scenario, the HVACR industry has a great responsibility and must give its contribution to increase global efficiency and comfort of the buildings.”
Beyond compliance with public sector regulations to reduce consumption, Guderzo stresses that improving the efficiency and sustainability of existing buildings has an implication in terms of market value and absorbability of the property, which should not be underestimated. “A recent survey carried out by ReBuild, in collaboration with CBRE and GBCI Europe, showed how energy-efficient buildings with a LEED certification have a greater value on the real estate market,” he says. “In particular, the market recognises the Gold certification, with a premium of 7.4%, and Platinum, with a premium above 11%. The occupancy rate on the certified properties, within six months after the certification, reach about 80%, and the vacancy ratio, after two and a half years, is lower than seven per cent.”
Guderzo says the growing demand for comfort, while ensuring energy saving, has been driving design and production of companies. “Italian producers, like Clivet, are facing this challenge by focusing on research and innovation, in order to create products that guarantee maximum comfort by reducing the energy consumption and the environmental impact of comfort solutions,” he says. “This strategy is winning, as demonstrated, the last 2018 trimestral evaluations announced by Assoclima, the Italian Association of HVRAC producers, with a growth in Italy’s air conditioning sector.”
Guderzo says large part of the growth in the sector is represented by the heat pump technology, adding that inverter technology continues to be a popular choice in the residential sector and has evolved to address real-time demands of the plant, which increases the energy efficiency of the overall system.