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22/11/2013
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Energy Efficiency: an option (and a must) for schools, too

Energy Efficiency: an option (and a must) for schools, too

A study by RSE quantifies and assesses the environmental and economic benefits of making Italian schools more energy efficient


These crisis-ridden years have enfeebled government investments, too. Yet there are still sectors where financial efforts, as the saying goes, are truly worth the candle. One of them is definitely making buildings more energy efficient, especially those belonging to the immense public building heritage. Under the motto “a stitch in time, saves nine”, actions should be taken targeting, for example, all Italian school buildings, in line with the proposal contained in a recently presented study by the Electrical System Development Division of RSE.

The study authors, Marco Borgarello and Francesca Carrara, have estimated that a 35% saving on energy consumption could be achieved with quite straightforward solutions. Simply by replacing conventional light bulbs with high-efficiency, low consumption models, changing old window and door frames and providing heat insulation for walls and roofs, in addition to ensuring the monitoring of operating temperatures in energy systems, an average 13,000 euros could be saved every year on the average energy bills, currently amounting to about 40,000 euros per year for each school.

The 45 thousand Italian public schools currently use 1.1 Mtoe per year. The cost for energy efficiency targeted actions - which are, by the way, provided for in the Italian Law Decree 5/12 - have been estimated by RSE as amounting to approximately 170 euros per square meter. Based on that figure, the projected costs for a kindergarten, usually covering about 800 square meters, would amount to around 130,000 euros, and could be recovered over a 16-20 years period.

50% of the Italian school facilities were built between the Sixties and the Eighties: over 60% of them were made of hollow bricks and lack, therefore, any thermal insulation, plus their energy efficiency profile was never improved.
The aforementioned researches feature three types of actions to be implemented, subdivided by a further three steps that can increasingly improve the school buildings’ energy efficiency, including among viable options replacing heating systems with higher efficiency ones, providing floor insulation and using electric heat pumps.
The study by RSE also took its cue from European Standards imposing an obligation to implement energy efficiency actions in public buildings, which should aim to achieve near-zero consumption.