In recent decades, many people have been looking to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle and have begun to implement eco-friendly changes to their homes. Having a sustainable property is both good for the planet and good for your pocket, reducing your carbon footprint and lowering your energy bills and water consumption. Also, many governments are implementing incentives to promote sustainable construction and renovation. This article will outline what makes a sustainable home and how you can make eco-friendly changes to your living space.

A Sustainable Home
Sustainability, in terms of manufacturing and production, centers around designing and creating buildings through processes that maximize efficiency while minimizing the negative environmental impact. A sustainable home or property optimizes energy and water usage, utilizes natural resources, and incorporates high-quality, durable systems and appliances.

In Italy and throughout the European Union, it is a requirement that properties for sale or rent provide an APE (Certificate of Energy Performance), which is also converted into an energy class level ranging from class A4, the most energy efficient, to class G, the least efficient. Energy class levels are determined by a licensed technician who conducts a professional energy audit. Factors taken into consideration include materials and dimensions of the building, the presence of renewable energy sources, and recent renovation works. This energy class is reported in property ads and should be considered when searching for real estate.

Buying Sustainable Property
When searching for sustainable Italian real estate, one of the first considerations is the size of the property. The larger the property, and the more floors it has, the more energy it will require to heat and cool. Trees and plants surrounding the building can protect it from sun and wind, thus keeping it cool in the summer but may require more heat in the winter. Similarly, it’s important to notice the orientation of the property in relation to the sun, in order to maximize the home’s exposure to the natural heat source.

Insulation is also a vital part of a home’s construction that contributes to its sustainability. How well the building is insulated will determine how well a consistent temperature can be maintained inside the space. This goes for the ceiling and floors as well, because homes lose a large amount of heat through the top of the house. In addition, heat pumps are sustainable alternatives to traditional furnaces as they generate up to three times more energy than they require to operate. Some models can also be used as cooling systems as well.

Making Sustainable Renovations
If you already own an Italian property, many eco-friendly considerations can be incorporated into renovation work. Windows are a large point of energy loss in homes and therefore are a place where great sustainable improvements can be seen through upgrades. Double-pane windows will keep out the cold air in the winter and the hot sun in the summer. New windows can prevent the heat generated inside the house from escaping in the winter, reducing the amount of extra money spent to compensate for the loss.

Investing in solar panels is a popular way to source clean, pure energy for the home and reduce the use of fossil fuels. Italy is known for its sunny climate, so why not harness its natural energy? While solar panels have a higher upfront cost, the reduction in energy bills in the long term will be worth the initial investment.

In addition, the Italian government offers what is called the “Superbonus”, which is a tax credit applicable to homeowners who renovate their homes to make them more energy efficient. This subsidy was modified in 2023 and 2024, but it still applies to some types of home renovation expenses, such as installing solar-powered systems, developing accessibility infrastructure, or making the building more resistant to earthquakes.

Small Sustainable Changes
If you don’t plan to embark on home renovations, there are still small upgrades that can make the home eco-friendly. Alternatively, when looking to purchase Italian real estate, these are elements to be aware of if you are interested in a property that has sustainable features.

LED light bulbs use up to 90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer. This lowers energy consumption and reduces replacement costs. Also, installing a water filtration system will decrease your plastic pollution and improve the quality of your drinking water.

Upgrading kitchen, laundry, and heating units to new, eco-models is a simple way of making your property more sustainable. While the energy-efficient versions of these appliances may be more expensive up front, they will save you money on energy bills and maintenance costs as well as reduce water usage over time.

Smart-home technology may sound lavish and expensive, but it can help you maximize energy used by lights, appliances, and heating and cooling systems. For example, smart-thermostats can track your energy consumption and the climate in the home. The homeowner has the ability to schedule when to heat or cool the house and it can be controlled remotely. This is ideal for those with a second home in Italy who prefer to monitor and adjust their energy usage from thousands of miles away.

Lastly, when people think of green living, they immediately think of plants. Having plants in your home is more than just aesthetically pleasing. Plants filter the air in the home through the process of photosynthesis, releasing fresh oxygen into the living space. Furthermore, a 1989 NASA study found that a number of common houseplants actually diffuse toxic chemicals from the air, like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. Snake plants, peace lilies, and rubber trees are all easy to grow and will diffuse harmful toxins from the air.

This article aimed to outline the characteristics of a sustainable home and how you can make upgrades to your existing property to make it more eco-friendly. Living in a more energy-efficient home reduces your negative impact on the environment and also saves you money over the long term. If you are interested in learning more about the sustainable real estate market in Italy, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@italianrealestatelawyers.com.

 

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