This article is about the Climate House (KlimaHaus, CasaClima, ClimateHouse) in Italy. You find more information on the italian system LEED - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the publication Certification of energy-efficient public buildings - Summary of instruments in the Alpine Space
The certification process
The initiative aims to save energy and create a cultural change in the way people think - making ClimateHouse synonymous to health and wellbeing. The ClimateHouse (CasaClima-KlimaHaus) project was developed in 2002 to promote energy-efficient and sustainable buildings in South Tyrol, Italy. By applying clear rules, home owners have the opportunity to fulfil their building interests at a high standard. In addition, ClimateHouse impressively showed that the administration can substantially increase the awareness in society for reducing a building’s CO2-emissions. After becoming a national success all over Italy, the first buildings abroad were recently certified. The certification model classifies buildings according to their annual space heat requirement (Gold: < 10 kWh/m2.a; A < 30 kWh/m2.a; B < 50 kWh/m2.a), and is based on an on-line calculation system.
ClimateHouse Gold: The maximum of savings
An important factor for the project’s success was the public’s adoption of ClimateHouse’s guidelines, which initially happened on a voluntary basis. The positive image of a certified ClimateHouse convinced homeowners from the beginning to adopt the energy-saving construction style. Neither financial aid by the public administration nor legal rules were necessary to initiate the project successfully. A ClimateHouse certified building is characterised by lower energy costs and improved standards of living, as well as an active contribution to environmental and climate protection.
Buildings with the ClimateHouse energy standard can be erected or renovated in every geographic area, because ClimateHouse is not limited by an architectural style, or a territorial restriction. Therefore, every architectural style is possible. As a result, in the course of a few years, the certification became popular not only in the region, but also in all of Italy, and abroad. More than 2.000 ClimateHouses built in Italy so far prove this fact!
The ClimateHouse standard was written into law by the Province of Bolzano, and other communities and provinces in northern Italy are in the process of substantially increasing energy efficiency and building sustainability. In the long term, the ClimateHouse project focuses on spreading the certified building standard not only to new buildings, but also to existing buildings.
The energy certificate with quality seal informs, in a simple way, about the house’s heating requirements and total energy efficiency. The document aims to enhance decisions on buying or renting through transparent energy costs. The so-called ClimateHouse-plaque is available in categories Gold, A and B. Fixed near the house door; it is a visible symbol for the building’s low energy need. It improves the image, and increases the property value.
The certification process guarantees a high energy efficiency level of both building and heating and cooling technology. In addition, it also guarantees a high standard of the construction process, which has to reach a documented standard. The physical parameters of the buildings are measured, using a defined on-line tool. The origin of the material used for construction is documented, and the total energy efficiency is determined. ClimateHouse’s technical guidelines define the required construction standards.
Every project is monitored throughout construction to ensure the label criteria are being fulfilled. A network of auditors from all over Italy regularly monitors the process, and guarantees that quality standards are being met. Only after passing final inspections, are the certificate and plaque given to the owner. Designation of future ClimateHouses at an early stage of the certification process guarantees a high level of clearness, for both the construction company and potential buyers.
To qualify as the highest class Gold, an extremely well-insulated, possibly air-tight building surface is needed, which acts as an efficient heat and cold protection without loss of any energy. Solar radiation is used through optimised positioning of the windows. To prevent the rooms from over-heating, a system of well-placed shades should be used. The building is tested for being air-tight and must pass for getting the certification. This test is completed by using a Blower Door test for both wooden constructions and brick buildings. The highest flow rate accepted for a ClimateHouse Gold is n50<0,6(-1).
The sustainability of the material used for construction must be tested as well as the thermal efficiency of the building’s envelope and heating technology. The so-called ‘ClimateHouse nature’ standard was developed in co-operation with IBO (the Austrian Institute for Building Biology and Ecology) The certification is based on the evaluation of all environmental-related consequences of a product. Crucial information includes possible impact on the greenhouse effect potential, acid rain potential, and the consumption of primary energy of non-sustainable resources.
Casaclima Nature is an „expansion” of the Casaclima energy standard. The certification is managed by the Agenzia Casaclima, a public organization located in Bolzano. The Casaclima certification has been the first in Italy introducing the energy rating for buildings and it is mandatory in the Provice of Bolzano, while outside the province it is voluntary.
Detailed environmental label description:
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Spreading KnowHow on sustainable building
ClimateHouse agency’s strategies for efficiency and climate protection are recognised in Italy and abroad. They are presented through a variety of training courses in Bolzano, and academic classes in Rome, and in the fair and conference „Klimahouse Bolzano” and „Klimahouse Roma.” ClimateHouse aims to provide knowledge on energy performance of buildings in Italy and worldwide. In the past few years, interest in ClimateHouse training has steadily grown. So far, courses have been attended by more than 11.400 participants.
The ClimateHouse agency focus is to promote and expand its model to other regions. Many local government agencies have shown interest in the label’s regulations, adopting and applying its standards throughout the construction process, and certifying energy levels with their own independent local ClimateHouse agencies. The practical certification process was successful with planners and designers, and is especially popular among house owners. The label gets its strength through the independent examination of energy efficiency and building quality during different phases of construction. Therefore, ClimateHouse is an example of direct support and help for the consumer (building owners and inhabitants).
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