Energy efficiency in buildings: everything you need to know

The thermal insulation of a building’s outer layer can reduce its energy needs (and therefore consumption) by up to 40%. This constitutes an investment that pays off pretty quickly, thanks to savings in bills, tax incentives and an important novelty: the tax credit transfer.

Published on 30 December 2019

High energy-efficient buildings - Enel X

In Italy there are more than 27 million dwellings (source: ENEA), two thirds of which were built before the first regulations on energy saving in buildings were introduced in 1976. And it wasn’t until 2006 that the current regulations regarding the reduction of energy consumption came into force. For these reasons, there’s a pretty good chance that the house you live in requires energy renovation. And so, before you start doing something about this, what do you need to know? First of all, the main problem, in terms of energy waste, is the building’s outer layer (i.e. the walls, roof and windows), as it is the main cause of energy loss in winter and heat transmission in summer. ENEA (which stands for “Energia Nucleare ed Energie Alternative”; “Nuclear and Alternative Energy”: it is effectively the national agency for new technology, energy and sustainable economic development) estimates that well-designed thermal insulation measures can save up to 40% in heating costs. Therefore, even before focusing on the facilities (for example, replacing the boiler or air conditioner), it’s important to consider methods for improving the outer layer, such as providing external or internal insulation, replacing the windows or insulating the roof and loft.

Moreover, if this type of work is well planned and well executed, then its costs will soon pay off through a cheaper energy bill. This is thanks to national tax incentives (such as the Ecobonus) or local ones (at regional or municipal level) in Italy. It’s also important to find out about the available tax benefits. This can be done by consulting the website created by ENEA, for national incentives, or the website of the region or municipality where you live.

Energy renovation work is a serious matter and requires that building companies duly plan and execute it. Nor should it be forgotten that, for the tax benefits to be granted, the company concerned must issue an invoice, whereas payment must be made via a special bank or postal transfer. Not only that, you will need to keep the receipt.

Finally, the Italian Decree of 30 April 2019 (known as Decreto Crescita, literally “the Growth Decree”) has been expanded to include private homes in the tax credit transfer system. This system had already been in force since 2016 for work on the communal areas in apartment buildings. It’s possible to transfer the credit deriving from the tax incentives to a third party involved in the redevelopment of the building, without having to wait 10 years in order to receive it. In this way, the total value of the incentive can be passed on to the company doing the work, while the client simply has to pay for the rest. And, in order to take advantage of the arrangement, it’s important that the company in question accepts payment through the assignment of the credit, and that all the details regarding the method of payment are stipulated in the contract.

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