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CappottoMio for my place

The insulation system of Eni gas e luce for energy requalification of buildings.

by Media Duemila
11 November 2020
6 min read
by Media Duemila
11 November 2020
6 min read

According to UN estimates, the world's population could reach 10 billion by 2050 and the number of city dwellers could even double. Given this situation, the issue of housing has taken on key importance. In an urban ecosystem with such a high population density, individual household energy use and energy habits greatly affect air quality and climate health. And their impact is set to increase. As Silvia Brini, an ISPRA researcher and technical and scientific coordinator for the fourth Report on the Quality of the Urban Environment from Sistema Nazionale per la Protezione dell’Ambiente (SNPA), explains “We collected a large amount of data between 2005 and 2015 and, thanks to the greater precision of our detection instruments, we can say that today, home heating systems contribute to air pollution in no less a quantity than vehicle traffic.”

Which is very significant when you consider that particulate matter, commonly referred to as fine dust, consists of the set of liquid and solid substances suspended in the air we breathe and is among the most frequent and dangerous pollutants found in urban areas. The World Health Organization, for example, holds it responsible for 4.2 million deaths every year (2016 data) and for “cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as several types of tumour”. 

Brini continues: “Obviously, to calculate the concentration of pollutants in the air we don’t just take into account emissions. Many other factors are included in the detection processes that result in traffic still ranking first as a polluting factor. However, while much research indicates a decrease, albeit slow, in motor vehicle pollution, SNPA’s report highlights that contamination caused by domestic heating systems in the 120 most populous cities in Italy is increasing. In 88 of the urban centres we analysed, we found that domestic heating is responsible for over 50% of fine dust emissions. That is why we are constantly subject to infringement procedures in relation to their level, at an average rate that is higher than the maximum tolerated by the European Commission.” What is the cause of this trend? On one hand, over time the use of certain fuels has been incentivised and they have had a greater impact than the old ones; this concerns the latest generation of fireplaces and stoves. On the other, the question of household energy efficiency has not been structurally addressed.

Within your domestic walls

Given these two issues, it is clear that we must begin to look at our homes from a different perspective, namely as incubators of the so-called green transition. And it is not simply the old saying about great oaks growing from tiny acorns. It is about evidence resulting from research and data comparison. To mention one example, the Forum European House – Ambrosetti think tank, which includes industry representatives such as Stefano Boeri, architect of Bosco Verticale in Milan, and Claudia Canevari, Deputy Director of the energy efficiency unit at the European Commission, has highlighted that our building stock is generally outdated, with more than half (56%) of buildings in energy class G

The case of the Po valley is emblematic. It is considered by the World Health Organization to be one of the most polluted areas in Europe, precisely because of the type of heating in private homes and by the particular air stagnation in an area with hardly any wind. So, the real question at this point is: how can we remedy the damage caused by the ordinary need of individuals to warm up and cool down their homes?

There are many solutions, from systems based on renewable energies (especially solar) to the photovoltaic bricks that are just now being experimented on, from particular species planted on terraces to artificial intelligence devices that know when to turn the heat on and off in blocks of flats. To facilitate access to these types of solution, the Italian government has offered an Ecobonus to those who want to carry out energy efficiency and structural improvement works, allowing them to take advantage of substantial tax breaks and with financing for up to 110% of the work.

The halt to the work of several building firms caused by the pandemic, ever increasing energy expenditure and the substantial increase in time spent at home led to the decision to offer a large incentive to a sector that makes a huge contribution to the country. Not only that, the guidelines for possible works have largely been drawn up with building energy consumption sustainability and improvement standards as beacons.

CappottoMio

Among the initiatives in place, Eni gas e luce has developed a scheme for the energy redevelopment of blocks of flats through the installation of thermal insulation to reduce heat loss from the building. The name of this service is CappottoMio and, in addition to thermal insulation for walls, it includes energy updating for the heating systems in flats, as well as earthquake protection, which will reduce energy consumption in blocks of flats from 30 to 50%. This result is achieved through a thermal insulation technique which uses specific insulation material (rigid polyurethane foam), potentially replacing fittings and window frames and resurfacing a building’s roofs or attics.

Aesthetically, buildings look as if they have had a new facade put on, as if they have been re-plastered, but inside, heat is retained in winter and less invasive in summer. The benefit for the health of individuals, the planet and condominium finances is considerable, as CappottoMio can be installed with the full backing of the government Ecobonus funding, as well as generating real savings on bills. As Brini clearly explains, “reducing emissions is a way to take direct action against climate change, while at the same time having a positive effect on the air quality in urban settings. Energy efficiency in private housing is definitely an important measure that could have a very significant impact within a few years.”