European funds, great opportunities, but for the efficiency leasing prevails


Antonella Castelli is Expert in Energy Management certified in compliance with the UNI CEI 11339 standard, Energy Manager of Etruria-SMA group and environmental engineer. She is also consultant in energy efficiency as well as application, and management of white certificates at the technical studies, ESCo (Energy Service Company) and companies who provides energy diagnoses in the industrial and tertiary sectors. Various technical-scientific professional consulting services include, among others, the one for the State Forestry Department and the activity for ENEA. She has also written numerous scientific publications on the energy efficiency, renewable sources and alternative energy.


What are the activities that the companies you cooperated with put in place? What specific steps were taken and what advantages did you observe after their implementation?

One of the examples is a series of energy efficiency improvement actions in the supermarkets, and thus in the framework of a large-scale organized distribution, which I could deal with at different periods – both through ESCo and as an energy manager consultant. The biggest consumer centers, in this specific case, consist of food refrigeration and lightning, and this also applies to the structures intended for distribution centers, where refrigeration stocks are located. In the case of the supermarkets’ supplies, the steps taken in the framework of these two crucial elements for the energy costs, which cover up to 70-80% of the total consumption, an energy saving of even 25% of the total may be reached in some cases. This result was achieved by means of a series of specific actions such as installation of the windows in the walls and covering of trays for frozen foods, refitting of the refrigeration station and a lightning project which provided for installation of a system of remote control and remote management of consumption which can generate alerts to improve the maintenance plan of the systems. A follow-up process, focusing on optimization, management and maintenance of the improved plants, guarantees durability of results of energy saving.

Did you estimate the economic impact of these activities on the budget? When did you get a return on investment?

The economic impact is sustainable if it is compared with the management and maintenance cost of the systems. It took about two years to get a return on investment regarding the retrofit of walls and covering of trays, and about four years in the case of other types of actions. After the lapse of the payback time, the results allowed the supermarket managers to increment the limited operating margins.

What type of financing was chosen for the performance of actions?

Based on my experience, the type of financing which is preferred in this field is the “operational lease”. It happened to me to apply also for the European funds, which I consider a great opportunity. Moreover, dealing with incentive systems, that of the funds – especially in the form of capital contribution – are one of the first possibilities that I advise taking into consideration.

Do you think that these companies will develop new investment opportunities in terms of energy efficiency?

Let me give you an example of Etruria-SMA Group and its subsidiaries, where I work as energy manager. Some of these points of sales are managed directly through the subsidiary Gms srl. The actions aimed at the improvement of energy efficiency have been completed and they are also planned to be performed, both in the operations center and in the distribution center and single points of sale, with the aim of achieving the maximum efficiency and technological redevelopment of the systems.


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Ivonne Carpinelli
Giornalista con la passione per l'ambiente e l'energia lavoro con Gruppo Italia Energia dal 2014. Mi occupo anche di mobilità dolce e alternativa, nuove costruzioni, economia circolare, arte e moda sostenibile. Esperta nella gestione dei social network e nel montaggio video non esco mai senza penna, taccuino e... smartphone.