Istituto Tecnico Agrario in Sant’Anatolia di Narco: a nearly zero-energy school in Italy

Public nZEB buildings case study
Building type
Educational Research
Project type

Istituto Tecnico Agrario in Sant’Anatolia di Narco

The Agricultural Technical School in Sant’Anatolia di Narco, a small village nestled in the Umbria region of Italy, has undergone a remarkable transformation. Housed within an aged, two-storey building, to avoid any risk, this educational institution found itself temporarily closed following a minor earthquake in the region. The structure remained unscathed, but authorities seized the opportunity to revamp the facility and align it with stringent energy efficiency standards.

In 2016, the extensive renovation project reached its completion, resulting in a transformation into a Nearly Zero-Energy Building. This retrofitting project has significantly minimised energy consumption for heating, cooling, domestic hot water production, ventilation, and lighting. Consequently, the school now operates with an energy expenditure so minimal that it is nearly negligible.

This revamped institution serves as a crucial hub for education in a region grappling with the challenges of increasing depopulation.

How was this building procured?

The Regional Council of Umbria initiated a call (DD 2201 of 03/21/2016) entitled “Public tender for the allocation of grants to public entities for the implementation of small-scale energy efficiency measures in buildings.” This call was primarily aimed at encouraging public administrations within the region to promote renewable energy production and enhance the overall energy efficiency of buildings. It provided an opportunity for these administrations to secure funding, which, in addition to existing state incentives, could cover up to 90% of the costs incurred for either:

  • Enhancing the energy efficiency of buildings and/or heating and/or cooling systems.
  • Undertaking interventions to create nearly zero-energy buildings (nZEB).

The call, thus, specifically targeted nZEB retrofits. For projects related to nZEB interventions, the GSE, a state-owned energy service system operator, financed approximately 65% of the total expenses through its Conto Termico program, designed to facilitate building upgrades and enhance energy performance. The European Union contributed around 25% of the funding through the European Regional Development Fund.

The Municipality of Sant’Anatolia di Narco bid in this initiative by proposing a project to transform the headquarters of the Valnerina State Agricultural Institute into an nZEB structure. The total project cost was estimated at EUR 265,000. As per the terms outlined in the call, 65% of this cost was supported by the GSE, while an additional 25% was provided through the ERDF. The remaining portion was covered by the Municipality.

What are the key nZEB features?

The renovation measures that played a role in converting the building into an nZEB include the following:

  • A substantial redevelopment of the building envelope was completed, affecting both to the façade and roof elements;
  • Cladding was applied to external walls;
  • The original roof was demolished and built anew in order to achieve the optimal degree of insulation;
  • A new air and water heating pump was installed, which was added to the pre-existing methane-powered heating system;
  • All light fixtures were replaced by efficient LED units;
  • A 18 kWp photovoltaic capacity was installed on the roof.

As a result of these actions, the energy certification of the buildings improved from E to A3. With the installation of a photovoltaic system, the total energy generation now exceeds consumption. Therefore, for the Municipality’s finances, the School has transitioned from being an expenditure to becoming a revenue generator.

Did the project have an impact on skills?

The key skills developed during this project included many building skills, as the renovation involved a substantial redevelopment of the building envelope, cladding of external walls, and the construction of an optimally insulated roof.

Moreover, as the tender specifically targeted nZEB buildings, the development of skills relating to nZEB construction was fostered by the public administration.

Keywords: Nearly Zero-Energy Building (nZEB), Skills Development, School, Renovation, Sant’Anatolia di Narco, Italy.

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