Building a super plan for sustainability
Deloitte Italy teamed up with leading financial institutions to make a building renovations incentive scheme more inclusive and affordable. It meant homeowners could fund vital green home improvements, faster.
From the Amalfi Coast to tiny villages outside Milan, Italy’s pre-19th century houses make up the majority of homes in the country. However, many need costly repairs and aren't environment friendly.
Sustainability is at the top of Italy’s agenda and, recognising that many people wouldn’t be able to upgrade their properties following the pandemic, the government launched an initiative to fund improvements. It was also designed to help meet the country’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 – meeting EU commitments.
Introduced in May 2020, after the first COVID-19 lockdown, the government’s ‘Decreto Rilancio’ is a raft of urgent health, social and economic measures drawn up to get the country back on track.
It includes the Superbonus 110%, an unprecedented tax incentive where the government covers 110 per cent of the cost of renovation works through tax breaks. The aim was to make homes more energy efficient and less susceptible to seismic risks, like earthquakes.
Available to all citizens, the Superbonus meant anyone could claim back the improvement costs as tax relief, over five years. But while this worked for some, others could not afford the costs upfront.
Deloitte Italy joined forces with more than 20 financial services institutions, including Italy's largest bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, to develop a platform that would enable financial institutions to ‘buy’ the tax credit for around 92 per cent of its value, with the money being paid to people upfront. This made sustainable measures, like solar panels, far more affordable and attainable.
It also helped people manage the often-complicated Superbonus application – with a specialist team to offer guidance.
From country houses in small towns in Sicily to large-scale apartment complexes in major cities like Turin and Rome, more than 200,000 people have registered on the platform, transferring €10 billion-plus in tax credits.
Antonio Piciocchi is a senior partner in Italy’s Tax business and is responsible for the Superbonus initiative at Deloitte. He emphasises the importance of not only giving homeowners access to the Superbonus upfront but making sure the process was smooth, straightforward and consistent.
"The procedures involved can be particularly technical and difficult to follow,” he explains. “It’s not something everyone can do by themselves. We aimed to simplify the steps, guiding people through the document collection process via a dedicated platform while ensuring they get the right information to a professional at the other end, so they can carry out the proper due diligence and checks to grant their tax credit eligibility.”
Digging into the data
As well as funding sustainable improvements, the Superbonus has led to more than 634,000 people being hired because of the increased demand for construction and related services, expanding the sector by 16.4 per cent in terms of new investments.
Overall, it’s estimated the pay out of €38.7 billion by June 2022 will contribute €124.8 billion in GDP to Italy’s economy.
It’s also protecting the planet. So far, carbon emissions from buildings that have received energy improvements have been cut by 50 per cent.
Antonio adds, "People using the scheme are seeing the benefits and have been able to make the kind of upgrades to their properties that weren't possible pre-2020. We’re delighted to have been part of a collaboration that has had this kind of reach and impact.”
And it means that now, there’s a greater chance of Italy’s period properties being sustainable homes that contribute to the country’s net zero goals, while providing people with a better standard of living.