Multiple benefits from buildings refurbishment: evidence from Smart City Projects in EU
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At: New Metropolitan Perspectives 2018 ; Reggio Calabria ; 23.5.2018 - 25.5.2018 ; Given the necessity of strengthening the transition towards a smarter, more sustainable low-carbon future, Smart Cities are considered a powerful tool. However, Smart City projects involving the refurbishment of existing buildings carry key barriers to implementation. The most prominent ones are: a wide time discrepancy between appreciable environmental and economic benefits and immediate costs of action and economic benefits that might not accrue to who bears the cost of the intervention. This research provides a clue to solving this impasse based on the concept of multiple-benefits evaluation stemming from a shift in perspective from mitigation costs to development opportunities. We considered the costs of interventions on the European building stock under the Smart City projects to assess the multiple-benefits delivered to society. Starting from the monetary aspects of single projects, we identified multipliers to assess three different types of multiple-benefits: Energy savings; Health and well-being; and Employment. Our findings indicate that in a time span of 14 years (2005–2018), an amount of about 260 million Euros invested in such projects lead to: an accumulated saving potential of approximately 40 kilotons of oil equivalent, corresponding to 465 GWh; a reduction in air pollution corresponding to a value of 3 million Euros in avoided costs; and the creation of around 1,000 jobs with an average duration of 5 years. Considering that most of such investments occurred during the latest economic recession, the impact of the aforementioned multi-benefits appears to be not negligible.