Italian good news: 100 Italian stories for future building

Feb 16, 2019 403

Solidity, usefulness, beauty: already in the first century B.C. Vitruvius Pollion identified, in these three points, the essential characteristics for the realization of a building the proper way. After more than 2000 years these indications are still extremely topical: just think of the fragility, lack of functionality and disharmony of many modern buildings. Especially at a time like the present, of profound changes for the building sector that, hard hit by the crisis, has lost about 600 thousand jobs since 2008.

To these criteria are now added the environmental and social dimensions. The construction of the future will not be able to ignore these needs and is already moving to respond appropriately. Fassa Bortolo is one of the Italian leaders in the building industry, which combines tradition and innovation to ensure continuous development and makes business ethics and respect for the environment essential corporate values. Symbola Fondazione per le qualità italiane is committed to the issues of the green economy, culture, innovation, social cohesion and the virtuous relationship between companies and territories. Together, these two structures intend to give voice to this world through the story of 100 realities of the building industry that, through innovation, challenge the future.

In Italy, the construction sector has been going through a dramatic crisis, mitigated in recent years by tax incentives such as the tax credit on restructuring and Ecobonus, to which were added the Sismabonus and the "Green Bonus", which are useful support both to counteract the crisis and to encourage new directions and new priorities, generating positive action for the quality of the built environment. In particular, the Sismabonus represents a concrete response to the problem of earthquake-proofing of buildings, which until now has never been adequately addressed. Suffice it to say that more than 60% of school buildings were built before the new anti-seismic regulations in the 1970s: a figure that makes it clear the urgency of intervening - particularly in historic centres and in poor quality post-war construction - through safety. From 2018 the so-called "Green Bonus" also allows you to access the tax credit to make your home greener. An incentive to improve urban centers, make cleaner the air you breathe there and cheaper heating and cooling of buildings, producing energy savings of up to 30-40%.

In 2017, incentives for restructuring produced more than 28 billion investments, activating more than 418 thousand direct and indirect jobs, qualifying the entrepreneurial system of the sector, reducing energy consumption, pollution and household bills. From 1998 to 2017 the fiscal incentive measures have activated investments for 264 billion euros. These figures give confidence to the sector and give us back the importance of redevelopment.

In Italy, real estate assets are worth almost four times the GDP, but their deterioration, due to time and poor maintenance, inevitably causes them to be devalued. About 80% of the homes were built before 1990: almost 10 million properties. It is necessary to give space to a new construction industry capable, through new technologies and skills, of supporting the recovery of buildings, energy efficiency, anti-seismic safety, urban quality.

New driving factors are emerging, linked to new models of architectural design, new materials, energy technology, management and redevelopment of existing heritage, demolition and reconstruction, product innovations. The data on investments in renewable energy sources, the data on the redevelopment market, the new markets that integrate construction-systems and services, as well as the European Union, tell us so. Energy saving is in fact a strategic objective for the EU. In 2016, energy consumption in the residential sector was 32.2 Mtoe, 27.8% of total energy use, 70% of which was due to heating and cooling. Improving materials and performance is essential to optimize interventions, as well as acting on the training of operators on green building issues. Companies have understood this: between 2014 and 2017, companies in the construction sector that have invested in green products and technologies were over 34,000, 20.8% of the total of companies.

By 2050, CO2 emissions from buildings will have to be reduced by 80% (Energy Roadmap 2050), from 2019 new public buildings and from 2021 all other new buildings will have to be nearly zero energy buildings (nZEB). In the future, in fact, rather than consuming energy, our buildings will produce it, becoming active and self-sufficient. Aiming at green requalification and energy efficiency means rewarding companies that in recent years have invested in quality and innovation, giving a new impetus to the economy and improving the health of our cities.

Renovation is a resource that, if well used, could be a motor of recovery for the entire economy. In 2017, investments in extraordinary maintenance amounted to 87.6 billion euros, compared to 41.4 billion spent on new buildings. Of the total value of production in construction of 167.1 billion euros, 124 are due to the recovery of buildings (ordinary and extraordinary maintenance).

As shown in the report "A new building against the crisis", produced in 2017 by the Symbola Foundation in collaboration with Cresme, on average, renovated houses have 29% higher value than non-renovated ones and they have even a higher value than newly built ones. This means that, compared to an average investment of 14,500 euros, the value of a renovated house increases fourfold or 65,750 euros. As an indication, if all the houses offered were redeveloped, the value of the residential building stock on offer on the market would be revalued by 20 billion euros.

Management issues become central in this new scenario: meeting needs, safety, sustainability, cost containment throughout the life cycle of the building, reducing the impact of the supply chain. The exceptional process of technological innovation, information technology, the introduction of BIM (Building Information Modeling) in design, electronics applied to construction design an increasingly innovative market driven. And that's just the beginning. The future will be made of more speed, more intelligence, more interconnection. A future of innovation and beauty that is already present in Italy and that, without any claim to completeness, we describe in this report.

It is a part of the Italian system, composed of large and small companies, research centers and agencies, which already works to build, in the truest sense of the word, the buildings of tomorrow. It starts with design, where architects and engineers design spaces and places to live that are increasingly comfortable and eco-sustainable, while new technologies support the search for efficiency and savings, support safety and facilitate interaction with the building. We pass through materials and components, a theme on which companies and universities invest to create high-performance products, capable of meeting the needs of human well-being and the environment, but also of durability, resistance and anti-seismic effectiveness. Finally, through very varied experiences, we arrive at the complete building, with its finishes, systems, windows and doors, and domotics. In this context, greenery, from an aesthetic value, also becomes an integral part of the building and an ally for energy saving. And let’s not forget that construction or renovation does not exhaust the attention due to the building, but it is from there that processes of improvement start that can lead, for example, to new forms of certification of the building.

These 100 experiences tell us today about the construction of the future: a journey through a composite chain that often takes its cue from tradition to innovate, crossing the knowledge of the workers with the industry 4.0. This all-Italian ability provides skills, training, energy and technology to contribute to the country's competitiveness and tells us about an avant-garde Italy, despite the various problems and delays that it faces. These 100 excellences represent an Italy that works the Italian way, able to keep up with innovation, mixing know-how with beauty - which is also solidity and usefulness - sustainability and quality.

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