Emu presents at South Pacific Passive House Conference 2017: “Cost effectiveness of retrofits in Italy to the EnerPHit standard”

Emu’s Chief Product Officer (and resident building science nerd), Enrico Bonilauri, was invited to present at the 2017 South Pacific Passive House Conference in Wellington, New Zealand. We’ll try to get the presentation up soon, but until then, here’s the abstract:

Cost-effectiveness of retrofits in Italy to the EnerPHit standard:

An ongoing energy retrofit project of a masonry building in Italy is turned into a case study to investigate the potential for the EnerPHit standard for comfort and cost-effectiveness in different climate conditions. Technical and cultural challenges are illustrated, as well as the potential to apply the results via a streamlined and systematic approach to retrofits.

Retrofits of existing buildings represent the largest volume of current projects in Italy, with considerable potential for energy savings and reduction of CO2 emissions. Home owners also have the option to benefit from substantial tax breaks for energy retrofits, making the ROI scenarios even more convenient. However, basic knowledge on the benefits and risks involved in renovation (comfort, mold, IAQ etc.) is still lacking. Retrofit projects are rarely planned based on thorough analyses, so that the results are far too often partial and unintegrated. Mold and condensation problems are a very common outcome of such projects. Step-by-step planning is still an unknown concept to most designers. Minimum compliance performance levels are also often seen as “too much anyway”, showing how cultural constrains play a major role in the renovation of the building stock.

One renovation case is shown as an example for of deep energy retrofit in different climate conditions in Italy. Compliance minimum and EnerPHit standards are compared for cost effectiveness and ROI of single components and for the entire building.

The result is a proposed approach to standardized construction system for step-by-step energy retrofits of common masonry buildings in Italy, typically built between the 60s and 90s. Climate variants allow for cost optimization, while different types of insulation allow to increase thermal lag of assemblies in warmer climates.

The goal of such a standardized and systematic retrofit approach is to provide contractors with ready-to-go integrated solutions for step-by-step projects, including thorough economic analyses to show the cost-effectiveness of the EnerPHit over the minimum compliance performance.

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