Researchers at the Institute for Renewable Energy
have launched a new European project, EENVEST, which aims to develop an online platform to calculate the investment risk associated with the energy retrofitting of commercial office buildings.
When renovating a building, investment risks can be significant: for example, if a photovoltaic panel produces less energy than expected or a window malfunctions, there can be a dramatic difference between energy savings calculated at the design stage and those that are actually materialise after construction. This is easily translated into a reduction in energy savings, i.e. higher operation costs for the building. Annalisa Andaloro, an expert at the Institute for Renewable Energy
of Eurac Research, explains "At present, there is a lack of tools to calculate the economic impact of these risks for the investor and this information gap leads to an increase in the cost of credit normally paid by the investor to refurbish one or more buildings.”
The determination of exact technical and financial risks is key to lowering the cost of credit for the lender, thus promoting intensive allocation of private capital in this field of investment. Andaloro notes, "At present, there are plenty of technical tools at our disposal for effective energy building retrofitting, but capital sources are still lacking. This is why the renovation market is heavily based on public incentives, still there should be a strong commitment from the technical and financial community to go beyond those mechanisms".
While the project is primarily focused on commercial buildings, both publicly and privately owned, it also seeks to produce a model applicable to residential buildings in a short time frame. The intention is also to promote a consistent and continuous dialogue between two communities that hardly share the same language: technicians and investors.
The architecture of the online platform will be developed by IES, a Scottish software development company involved in EEnvest as project partner, and will serve as a marketplace where owners seeking to renovate buildings can register their profile and the details of their project, enabling potential investors to easily calculate the investment risks.
The target users of the platform are owners of large real estate portfolios, public authorities, banks and private investors of various kinds, including funds. The platform will be tested during development by a panel of supporting stakeholders, such as the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, Pensplan, Unicredit and BNP Paribas.
The EENVVEST project is coordinated by Eurac Research and funded by the European research programme Horizon 2020 .
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