Is a radical shift towards maximum energy efficiency in Lombardy possible? The challenge is the one launched by three young engineers with clear ideas and a lot of experience. To win it Isaac Scaramella, Alessandro Fracassi and Alberto Massetti gave birth to GreenLab, a team to develop projects in the field of construction and spatial planning with a common denominator: theattention to energy, which never goes to waste.
1) When and how did you decide to create GreenLab? What is it about?
GreenLab was born in December 2012 from the idea of bringing together different skills in the field of construction and territorial planning with a common denominator: attention to energy efficiency, both for new buildings and, above all, for the existing building heritage . We have taken up the challenge of the green economy starting from the awareness that in Lombardy the construction world needs a radical change in terms of energy saving and efficiency.
2) Who is the team composed of?
We are three young professionals but with clear ideas, and a lot of experience, on how the future of construction should be in our region and in Italy. In GreenLab team they work: Alessandro Fracassi, 30 years old, Construction Engineer-Architect, Alberto Massetti, 33 years old Engineer for the environment and the territory e Isaac Scaramella 29 years old Civil engineer.
3) Why do you think the construction industry in Lombardy needs a radical change in energy efficiency?
In Lombardy the energy consumption average of buildings is over 200kWh per square meter per year, which translated into energy class means a class G. A very high level that costs us dearly also in terms of air pollution: every year in Lombardy 15 million tons of CO2 are produced precisely because of these high consumption. It is therefore clear that building new buildings with high energy efficiency is not enough to reduce the consumption of our region, it is essential to proceed with a systematic redevelopment of the buildings, to be carried out rationally, or through energy audits that identify the priorities for intervention. If we could halve the average energy consumption construction would be a great success.
4) What do you propose for the recovery of existing assets? What are the main problems in this regard and what results can be obtained? At what cost?
It is not possible to define a “standard” intervention, every building deserves a detailed study. In our opinion, it is a priority to intervene on the envelope, because it is useless to have a high-performance system if the energy it produces is dispersed unnecessarily through walls, roofs and windows. We can take the example of a recently faced case of a terraced house, currently in class G which, with a cost of about € 30,000, can be brought to class C with a series of interventions on the building-plant system. Thanks to the incentive scheme currently in force, spending can be recovered in about 13 years, which is a short time on an asset such as a home. In addition to the benefits in economic terms, the increase in living comfort and the opportunity for an architectural restyling should be considered.
5) And for new buildings?
For new buildings, the standard must immediately become the "nearly zero energy" construction that European legislation makes it mandatory from 2020 and in the Lombardy Region it will be from the end of 2015. We argue that the technologies and skills to do so are already available today, so why wait? With an increase in costs of a few percentage points, we can have much better performing buildings than traditional ones, reducing management costs and improving the quality of living.
6) What does the Housing Stock Analysis service consist of?
It is a new service from analysis of the building stock of a single owner who is able to determine the intervention priorities with a view to energy saving. With adequate planning, it is possible to intervene on each building, transforming the inevitable maintenance interventions into opportunities for improving the energy class and architectural restyling, with a consequent increase in the market value of the property.
7) Do you have or do you plan to collaborate with institutions, trade associations or research bodies?
At the moment we are participating, as consultants, in the drafting of the COUNTRY (Action Plans for Sustainable Energy) of four Municipalities in the Province of Brescia, a very important step for territorial energy planning. We are also collaborating with Legambiente Brescia in the creation of an information desk on a provincial scale on energy saving. We have also collaborated and will continue to do so in the future on some university research projects.