Renovation Wave: the case in Italy

Photo credit: by Crawford Jolly

Recently in Italy, and more specifically in the city of Padova, the renovation wave and the green transition have begun to take shape. At the national level, the Italian Parliament approved towards the end of 2020 the so-called “Superbonus” scheme as part of the Italian “Relaunch Decree”, a series of tax incentives to kick start the economy after the pandemic.

The Superbonus was launched specifically to support homeowners in financing the renovation of their buildings through tax deductions. In particular, the programme allows for measures in the field of energy efficiency and restoration of the building stock. The allowance is granted in fields such as building isolation, installing solar panels, and lowering the seismic risk. While it was initially supposed to cover for the expenses incurred until the end of 2021, Italy has decided to extend the scheme to 30 June 2022 and discussions are currently taking place to prolong it even further.

From European to national and finally, local policy

At the local level, the Municipal Council of Padova endorsed the SECAP – the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (PAESC in Italian). The Plan is financed through European cohesion policy, specifically through the European-funded project Life Veneto Adapt (2017-2021), which develops the methodology and instruments to promote adaptation to climate change at the regional and local level. These two plans are in fact local climate action policies since they foster the necessary actions to adapt the urban territory to climate change, in line with the 2030 climate and energy framework of the European Union and the goals of the Italian national recovery and resilience plan.

Veneto region leads the way

According to the first official data published by ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, over 10,000 constructions with a value of € 1 billion could make use of the tax relief. For now, the Veneto region represents the territory in which the highest number of renovations took place, with 1430 actions.

The SECAP plan from Padova is a renewed version of a plan titled SEAP dating from 2011 that  the municipality decided to update after joining the Covenant of Mayors. One of the main pillars of the SECAP is represented by the activation of a One-Stop-Shop, dedicated to home renovation services. One-stops-shops will motivate and support homeowners to invest in energy efficiency, stimulating the supply side in offering technical and financial integrated packages. The method behind and expected results are part of the PadovaFIT Expanded project, running until 2023.

What about other countries?

The aim behind the Superbonus scheme is to prompt the re-start of the Italian economy after the pandemic with an eye on the green transition. Indeed, just like the European Commission with the “Renovation wave” strategy, the Italian government believes that renovation of buildings is the way to foster sustainable economic growth, adapt to climate change, and address the issue of energy poverty. The European Commission even mentioned the Superbonus scheme as a best practice during the announcement of the “Renovation wave” strategy last October 2020.

Following the Italian example, France, for instance, has also launched a tax credit for energy-efficient renovations called “Ma Prime Rénov” with the slogan “Better at home, better for the planet” in January 2021. The programme aims at financing building renovation within the broader European “Renovation wave” framework. Differently from Italy and France, the Czech Republic intends to promote energy efficiency in private accommodations by capitalizing on the gains from the emissions trading scheme.

What is the national policy putting the Renovation wave in place in your country? And how is this visible at the local level? What are the results so far? Please comment below!


Renovation wave, Italy, Superbonus, home renovations, tax deductions, climate and energy, recovery and resilience , One stop shops

Author: Allegra Semenzato (Climate Alliance)

Editor: Masha Tarle (Climate Alliance)