Green Homes: 270 billion euros for 7.6 million homes affected


Emma Potter

Italy is preparing to experience a green revolution in the construction sector, a change that will affect millions of private and public buildings, currently inadequate in terms of energy. Between 5.5 and 7.6 million buildings, classified in the lowest energy bands (F and G), will have to undergo energy requalification interventions.

This massive effort responds to the ambition of the new European Directive Green Homeswhich aims to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions and significantly reduce energy consumption, projecting the sector towards the goal of zero emissions by 2050.

The estimates, provided by bodies such as Fillea Cgil and Unimpresa, envisage an overall expenditure which it could reach 270 billion eurosoutlining a scenario in which the energy transition promises to be one of the major infrastructural and social challenges for Italy in the coming years.

The “Green Homes” directive and its implications

At the center of the discussion on the energy transition is the new European Green Homes Directive, which has already sparked a wide range of reactions among the various Italian stakeholders.

On the one hand, there is an urgent need to adapt to more sustainable energy standards, in line with the greenhouse gas emissions reduction objectives set for 2050. On the other, concerns about the economic and social consequences of this transition they are palpable.

The Minister of the Environment and Energy Security, Gilberto Pichetto, underlines the need to proceed with caution, highlighting the difficulties linked to achieving the intermediate objectives set for 2030 and 2040, especially due to theadvanced age of Italian properties. The Minister's words place the emphasis on a detailed planning of interventions, which should range from the installation of heat pumps to the replacement of windows with double-glazed solutions, emphasizing that the Directive commits the Italian State, rather than individual owners, in the implementation of these interventions.

The importance of a strategy that considers the specificities of the Italian context, including the historical urban fabric and the fragmentation of real estate ownership, is evident, to prevent the obligation of energy requalification from translating into an unsustainable burden for citizens.

At the same time, associations such as Confedilizia ask that the Italian government works to improve the text of the Directive in the next European legislature, with the aim of mitigating the potentially negative impacts on the population.

The economic challenges and the responses of the banking system

Addressing the transition towards more energy-sustainable buildings entails significant economic challenges, both for the State and for citizens. According to estimates provided by Codacons, the interventions necessary to bring a home up to standard provided for by the new European legislation vary between 35,000 and 60,000 euroswith just the replacement of the boiler which can cost up to 16,000 euros.

These numbers highlight the need for effective support policies, capable of lightening the financial burden on families, especially the less well-off.

In this scenario, the role of the banking system becomes crucial. Giovanni Sabatini, general director of the Italian Banking Association (ABI), underlines the importance of facilitating access to the so-called green mortgages. These financial instruments, intended for the purchase of homes with high energy performance or the redevelopment of existing properties, can represent a fundamental lever for supporting the energy transition.

The ABI also calls for greater transparency and accessibility of data relating to the energy class of buildings, an element that could further stimulate investments in this sector.

Criticism and support for the directive

The European Directive on green homes does not fail to raise criticism and concerns among Italian politicians and regional authorities, highlighting a panorama of conflicting opinions. The president of the Lombardy Region, Attilio Fontana, expressed a severe opinion, defining the directive as “unacceptable madness”, especially due to the failure to take into account the different social and territorial realities within the European Union.

Fontana's position reflects the concern that European requirements may not adequately take into account the specificities and needs of each member country, jeopardizing the feasibility of the required reforms.

Despite the criticism, there are also voices that strongly support the directive, underlining the potential benefits in terms of energy efficiency, reduction of dependence on fossil fuels and stimulus for the construction and craft sectors. Patrizia Toia, MEP of the Democratic Party, applauds the European initiative, highlighting the advantages that greater energy efficiency could bring, not only in economic terms, but also for public health and the environment. The Assoimmobiliare association also recognizes the inevitability of the green transition in the real estate sector, underlining the need to face this challenge with an organic and long-term approach that involves the entire construction chain.

The Directive, therefore, is at the center of a complex debate, which intertwines economic, social and environmental issues. While criticism highlights the challenges and difficulties of implementation, the support gathered underlines the strategic importance of this transition for the energy and environmental future of Italy and Europe.