The future of the environment and conservation of the natural world is fundamentally linked to construction of buildings and property. Investing in the best performing energy classes is the new energy efficient trend, but where does the Italian real estate market stand on its environmental action?
According to data from a survey conducted by ENEA, I-Com (Institute for Competitiveness) and FIAIP with more than 600 real estate agents, the energy quality of the real estate stock in Italy improved in 2018. Specifically, the purchase and sale of properties in the first three energy categories (A, B and C) grew by 6% and those of buildings undergoing renovation to improve their energy efficiency by 12%. It is a legal requirement in Italy to be able to sell or rent property to have an Energy Performance Certificate which gives it an energy rating of A to G.
However, the figure that emerges, unfortunately, is that about 80% of property sales in Italy still concern properties of the lowest energy efficiency classes. In 2017, it was over 90%. For the president of ENEA, Federico Testa, despite some signs of improvement, the "culture of energy saving in real estate and property redevelopment for energy saving purposes have not yet become a real social practice”.
At the same time, as Testa always points out, "after years of shyness and lack of attention, the Italian real estate sector is beginning to recognise the value of energy efficiency". Franco D'Amore, vice president of I-Com, echoed his sentiments: "After five years, this year we are finally seeing positive trends. Until last year, we saw a huge majority of properties in the [lowest energy performance] G class".
It’s most likely thanks to the tax reliefs and bonuses that the current trend shows an increase in the highest performing energy classes (which also guarantee significant savings for owners’ energy bills), sanctioning the consequent emptying of the lowest performing classes. Homeowners who refit their homes to be more energy efficient can get a 65% tax rebate for installing solar panels on their house and carrying out other environmentally friendly home improvements.
At the beginning of the year, among other things, as D'Amore pointed out, "The Italian government presented the Energy and Climate Plan 2030. The objectives are really challenging: 180 billion euros of investment. However, it is necessary to change the pace in order to make these investments. Above all, the issue of access to mortgages must be attacked at its root. All the instruments that can facilitate these investments must be put in place".