Bank of Italy study on energy efficiency in buildings: difficulties and strategies in a document


Emma Potter

Half of Italian families live in properties before 1976

The study shows that about the half of Italian families live in properties built before the first regulation which provides mandatory indications on the thermal insulation of buildings, thus promoting energy efficiency (law 373 of 1976).

They belong to the Italian real estate heritage 36 million homes (out of a total of approximately 77 million real estate units), with a significant share presenting unsatisfactory energy performance characteristics. This context is aggravated by widespread real estate ownership and a rental market that mainly involves the economically weaker sections of the population, exposing a significant part of citizens to greater energy vulnerability.

It is also mentioned in the document that only since 2009 has certification been foreseen in Italy of the energy efficiency status of a property: Energy certification certificate, ACE, from 2009 to 2015, Energy performance certificate, APE, from 2015. The APE is drawn up by technicians registered in specific regional registers; the certificates flow into regional archives, most of which are now integrated with the national land register managed by ENEA (SIAPE).

What does the new Green Homes Directive imply?

The new Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), as part of the package “Fit for 55” of the European Union, imposes on member states the obligation to reduce the energy consumption of buildings by at least 11.7% by 2030.

Italy, in particular, must deal with the need to retrofit a large number of residential properties, many of which have poor energy performance. The effectiveness of these measures will largely depend on the ability to implement effective incentive policies and improve access to information on the energy performance of buildings.

Financial, informational and regulatory interventions are needed

The analysis suggests that to achieve energy efficiency goals, a combination of financial, informational and regulatory interventions.

Fiscal incentives, such as the 110% Superbonus, have already shown that they can stimulate significant investments in this sector, although not without critical issues in terms of long-term impacts and costs for public finances.

The main recommendation of the report concerns the need to direct incentives above all towards low-income familieswho often live in less energy efficient homes.

Banks, real estate and energy efficiency

Bankitalia underlines that from the information on Italian banks referring to 2022 it can be seen that the distribution by energy class of the properties used as collateral for the loans is on average lower than average than that of other European countries, but is quite consistent with the distribution by energy classes of the national real estate assets for which information is available.

Most intermediaries declare that they do not have energy performance certification (APE) of the properties, but use estimated data.

Banks and other financial intermediaries can play a crucial role in energy efficiency, through the offer of green financial productslike the green mortgages, which are already present in other European contexts. The expansion of these financial instruments could facilitate the large-scale adoption of energy improvements, especially if accompanied by greater transparency and targeted incentives.