Italy's basis of energy efficiency is Law No. 10/1991 - "Regulations for the Implementation of the National Energy Plan with Regard to the Rational Use of Energy, Energy Savings and the Development of Renewable Energy Sources." It is a framework law to introduce regulations aimed at the efficient use of energy sources in all end-use sectors including the specific reduction of energy consumption in production processes, especially in buildings and heating plants.
Law 10/1991, as implemented by Presidential Decree 412/1992 and numerous other decrees and circulars, sets out energy efficiency measures such as:
- Building standards, including numerous energy efficiency regulations for buildings;
- Rules for the design, installation and operation of thermal systems in buildings; and
- Technical and constructive criteria for new public and private buildings, as well as restorations. This regulatory system was revised in accordance with the implementation of the EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings.
- Inspection of boilers, including regulations limiting energy consumption with special reference to the design, installation, running and maintenance of heating plants. The programme, begun in 1994, requires plants to be inspected every one or two years depending on the size of the boiler. Air temperature in heated buildings must be 20°C + 2°C. Sanctions for non-compliance are foreseen but are not yet in place. NEA supports the programme by providing training and information to the municipalities who are responsible for the inspection.
- Energy managers, required in industrial companies that consume more than 10 000 toe per annum and in commercial, public and transport companies that consume more than 1 000 toe per annum, or in their affiliates Energy Service Companies (ESCOs). Companies that fail to comply with this regulation are not eligible for grants for energy efficiency investments and are liable to be fined.
- Design for individual billing of heating, air-conditioning and hot water costs. For new buildings and existing buildings undergoing major renovation, it is compulsory to make allowance for individual measurement, but it is not compulsory to install the measuring equipment (Article 2.6 of Law No. 10/91). By requiring it at the design stage, it will be easier to introduce individual metering if it becomes mandatory.
- Demand Side Management by ENEL. Under the 1991 planning agreement between the Ministry of Industry and ENEL, negotiated under Law 9/91 and covering 1991-1995, ENEL undertook to promote savings in electrical end-uses through technical assistance, advice and information dissemination. Programmes focused on efficient heat pumps for water heating and air conditioning; compact fluorescent light bulbs; solar panels in the residential and commercial sectors; capacitors to improve power factors on customer premises; and cogeneration in small and medium-sized enterprises.
- Tax relief and the payment by local authorities of incentives to support the adoption of the most efficient technological solutions. Under Law No. 10/91 and Decree 15/02/92, financial contributions were provided to support investments in energy efficiency and renewables in all energy sectors. The main contributions which were made to help industry and the industry sector were stopped in 1994 at the central level but some regional subsidies are still in operation.
- Local Energy Plans. Law No. 10/91 requires communities with a population of over 50 000 to establish local energy plans with emphasis on renewable energy sources and combined heat and power (CHP). Due to weak administrative management and budget constraints, few plans have been developed so far, with the exceptions of Rome and Turin and some smaller cities like Padua or Rovigo. However, Italian municipalities were to set up their energy budgets and develop reduction plans for the years 2005 and 2010 by December 1998.