First Seminar of INVESTinIT Lab, the laboratory that guides and supports the implementation of public investments

SDA Bocconi and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti joined forces to improve investments in the upgrading the energy efficiency of real estate assets in Italy


On July 7, 2022, INVESTinIT Lab held its first themed event. Speakers spoke about the modernization of public buildings and investments in the energy efficiency of those buildings.

INVESTinIT Lab is a cultural and managerial research and development lab directed by Veronica Vecchi, Professor of Practice of Business Government Relations. Through its strategic partnership with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti investment bank, SDA Bocconi launched the lab to direct and support public investments.

Invest in IT Lab’s themed in-person seminars, webinars and study materials are tools for public administration offices, particularly local authorities and healthcare companies, as well as economic operators. These materials come from data analyses and the collection of case studies and experiences.

The lab identifies collaborative methods and operational models of investment that can generate real value in the long term for financial sustainability as well as environmental, social and economic value. This model is only possible if public administration offices can take on the role of what Vecchi calls the ‘sophisticated buyer’.

During the first seminar, Lorenzo Motta, Junior Lecturer of Government, Health and Not for Profit at SDA Bocconi, presented data on real estate assets of local authorities and Healthcare Companies, respectively owners of 734,000 buildings and 17,000 the latter. These are obsolete properties, with 50% having been constructed before 1970.

From 2008 to 2022, continued Niccolò Cusumano, Associate Professor of Practice, Business Government Relations, Government, health and No Profit, CUP (Codice Unico di Progetto) data has shown that municipalities and Healthcare Companies have invested respectively 17.4 and 1.6 billion euros in making buildings more energy efficient. Lastly, 2.1 billion has been spent on installing solar panels and solar thermal systems on public buildings. “Healthcare alone consumes as much as schools and public administration buildings combined” says Cusumano, who then added "according to ENEA, in comparison, Italy invested 53 billion euros to make private residential buildings more efficient between 2005 and 2020."

Has this affected the energy consumption of municipal and healthcare buildings? Despite  these investments, which are largely carved up, ranging on average from 500,000 to 700,000 euros, spending on energy consumption has remained relatively unchanged in recent years. With the price of electricity and gas having tripled in the last year, energy will continue to have a significant economic as well as environmental impact.

Veronica Vecchi, Professor of Practice of Business Government Relations at SDA Bocconi, then discussed the possible strategies and financing and operational models that might enhance investments in energy efficiency, including that in public administration, which has become an example of “entry level” sustainability strategies of private businesses in which the scope 1 emissions report is an increasingly common parameter of non-financial performance evaluation for ESG investors (environment, society & governance).

Despite the fact that improvements in energy efficiency is one of the most eligible investment projects through public-private partnerships (PPP), it remains a little used solution. In the second half of the seminar, Vecchi discusses the difference between PPP and contract.

This was followed by Gianluca Manca’s presentation on financial tools for public administration and the event concluded with an intense discussion with and among the participants who shared experiences, opportunities, and issues to be addressed and solved, thanks to the tools provided by Invest in IT Lab.

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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