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ENERGY SAVING BUILDINGS

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How to reduce operating costs with high efficiency systems:
energy class A without building thermal envelope

Energy efficiency in cooling is of great interest, as highlighted by the latest regulations. In fact, an innovation has been recently introduced to the real estate market: the Energy Certificate, a mandatory document establishing the energy efficiency of both new and existing buildings. It is to be expected that the catch phrase “self contained heating”, that in the last decade has been widely used in the real estate market, will be quickly replaced by the new one "Energy class A building".
If so far energy efficiency and certification of buildings has been recalling for many years the increase in costs, energy certification is now introducing a tool for increasing the value of buildings in the real estate market.
One issue that directly affects the energy certification is the development of a nation-wide approach. In Italy, the lack of implementation of Ministerial Decrees and energy certification standards is causing the spread of tools and methods, while leaving to the regions the implementation of energy certification systems.

Among several energy certification standards, the Province of Bolzano (Northern Italy) first introduced a its own standard, namely Klimahaus, intending to assume a nation-wide leadership position.
The building energy classes of Klimahaus include:

- Energy class Gold    less than 10 kWhm2 per year;
- Energy class A    less than 30 kWhm2 per year;
- Energy class B    less than 50 kWhm2 per year;
- Energy class C    less than 70 kWhm2 per year.

Therefore, two trends are to be expected in the real estate market: on one hand the improvement of energy efficiency in building, on the other hand the increase in building costs. Actually, a different approach could be expected: a strong reduction in construction costs (material, insulation, glass areas...), while investing in innovative technologies to meet the heating requirements of buildings, thus achieving the best energy performance certificate. Actually, this would be a valid alternative if there was a profitable technology,
especially if its purchase cost was lower than the investment costs on costruction.

This technology is already available on the market and provides efficiency by 40% higher when compared to the best condensing boilers. The gas absorption heat pumps, manufactured by Robur SpA, an Italian company situated in Zingonia near Bergamo, in the North of Italy, are powered by natural gas or LPG. In Italy, ENEA, a renowned Authority for new Technologies, Energy and Environment, has already given a favourable opinion on the effectiveness of this
technology. Recently, the European Commission has acknowledged this technology as one of most performant.

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