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MARIE Project. AREA Science Park hosts a comparison between European experiences. 

Energy efficiency in buildings: strategies and best practices to meet the europa 2020 goals

13.02.2014 -

Energy consumption in buildings in Mediterranean Europe, the so-called MED area, is higher than the EU average. For these countries, achieving the energy efficiency goals set by European policies by the year 2020 is a considerable challenge that requires coordinated, strategic institutional action.  Hard at work on these challenges are the 23 partners of the MARIE - Mediterranean Building Rethinking for Energy Efficiency Improvement European project co-financed by the MED Programme; the project's goal is to identify a strategy to improve energy efficiency to be applied to public and private buildings. In order to have an idea of the architectural heritage involved, just think that there are about 10 million buildings and over 30 million homes in the project area, many of which are old and inefficient in terms of energy.


Among the various project partners, which come from 9 different countries, 5 are Italian: AREA Science Park, and the regional governments of Piedmont, Umbria, Liguria, and Basilicata. With particular reference to Friuli Venezia Giulia, AREA has put together - in collaboration with the regional government - a series of roundtables (GIR) with the participation of professionals and representatives from local bodies, scientific institutions, banks, and professional associations to define guidelines to support regional policies and norms in the field of energy efficiency. It emerged that an exceptionally useful tool to encourage interventions are E.S.Co. (Energy Service Companies), which provide - free of charge to public or private clients - a diagnosis of the problem, a solution, its implementation, and all subsequent energy management.


The mechanism calls for the E.S.Co to pay in advance for all the interventions, which are then repaid through the resultant energy savings; the E.S.Co. also collects the incentives set out under existing laws on energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. This tool, which could become the engine for building renewal on a vast scale, was the focus of the training and information day that was held today at AREA Science Park.


The workshop, dedicated to local bodies, regional administrations, and businesses dealing with public and private construction, was a collaborative effort between AREA Science Park, the Energy Department - Central Directorate for Energy and the Environment of the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, and the ARES  Regional Agency for Sustainable Construction, and was organized within the framework of the regional roundtable on energy efficiency, comprising the MARIE European project and in collaboration with the MountEE project.


The event was also an opportunity to discuss and share other successful interventions at the European level. In Slovenia, for example, in the municipalities of Brda and Miren - Kostanjevica, the E.S.Co. mechanism was used to modernize street lighting and to launch a biomass-fuelled teleheating system. Additionally, a pilot project for the energy retrofit of Brda's town hall is currently underway. In Catalonia, an energy retrofit programme for 2014-2020 will involve about one and a half million buildings regionwide.


On the occasion of the conference, the regional councillor for energy and the environment Sara Vito met with Carlos Sala i Roca and Xavier Martì i Ragué, respectively Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Territory and Sustainability of the Government of Catalonia (Spain) and Coordinator of the MARIE project. "The topics at hand are many and they are all important - the councillor noted - but of particular interest are the aspects related to funding efforts to improve energy efficiency, because at a time when public bodies are constrained by the Stability Pact, we must identify and use all channels that bring about possible alternatives". Additionally, Sala i Roca invited Sara Vito to the final event of the Marie project, scheduled to be held in Barcelona on October 30 of this year.

The training-information day ended with a session on the energy retrofit of buildings performed while overcoming the constraints of the Stability Pact. The session was organized within the framework of MountEE, a project that provides municipalities and local agencies for residential housing in three European mountain areas (Scandinavia, Alps, and Pyrenees) with support to change the way buildings are constructed and renovated.