A major barrier to many investments in energy efficiency is the uncertainty of economic returns. Often, stakeholders involved are not aware of the financial and environmental benefits of energy efficiency, or, alternatively, do not know how to quantify energy and economic savings. This is due to the scarcity of data regarding energy consumption and the usually small size of interventions preventing economies of scale. This makes evaluating energy efficiency investments and accompanying returns uncertain and time-consuming.
The creation/identification of a third-party organization or infrastructure that provides for both technical and financial certification is aimed at repairing the uncertainty related to the energy savings and expected cash-flows: this solution could be seen as a preliminary service that marks a good quality project ready for investment or provide for advisory so to improve technical and financial aspects of the project. In particular, this solution is strongly connected to the need of procedure standardisation and thresholds identification: when is it better to finance renovation and when demolition & reconstruction?
This solution addresses multiple needs from different categories:
- for banks, a third-party certification would be a sort of pre-screening that allows a more easy evaluation of investment readiness. Financial institutions often see a strong potential in energy efficiency, but in order to trust the energy efficiency investments they need an independent service to assess and technically certify the interventions, since for them uncertainty means that they are not able to estimate the real obtainable savings and the expected cash flows;
- for companies, this kind of advisory-service would increase their projects financeability and be a learning-tool that would improve their competences and capacity to deliver high quality projects;
- for house-owners, the benefits are indirect and connected to the reduced timing of intervention and clear understanding of the advantages of the project, since it has been already verified and certified.
For these reasons this solution is innovative for the Italian context since it would generate:
- cost and time-effective projects,
- increased trustability of energy efficiency projects,
- a standardized model to evaluate projects that increase energy efficiency and sustainability of buildings that can be replicated.
The solution has never been implemented in the Emilia-Romagna Region and by a single entity that collects both technical and financial expertise.