Retrofitting BMS technology could benefit the EU economy enormously. Such activities could save up to 60% of a building's energy consumption and this would translate into direct savings in energy expenditure. But energy technology alone is only part of the answer. There are also other barriers to retrofitting such as financial, legal and political impediments.

To tackle these issues, data collection on how energy is used in buildings is key. An Italian energy efficiency company, Officinæ Verdi, based in Rome, has developed an innovative building management system (BMS) that can directly link energetic performance to financial impact.

Officinæ Verdi is working on public buildings, through the European project R2Cities. "We are involved in technology-payback analysis; this means we evaluate the financial sustainability of each technology," says Giovanni Tordi, CEO of Officinæ Verdi.

He explains that several issues often prevent the implementation of retrofitting like a thermal coat insulation: the considerable costs, the credit crunch and the involvement of all the owners of the building.

Thus, "data could be used as a base for presenting a renovation project to a bank for getting the financial support that is needed," affirms Simone Tola, coordinator of the public Agency for energy in the Venice province, Italy. In the long run, such fact-based investment may help businesses and the public sector make important energy saving interventions.