Since the last decade, European Union policies are oriented to decrease greenhouses emissions and energy dependence. The main incentives are energy saving, renewable energy and cogeneration, as proved by the 2010/31 EU Directive on energy savings in buildings and by the 2012/27/EC Directive on energy efficiency. At the same time, about 14 % of European population is over 65 years of age, and it is expected that this number will double by 2050. These figures in Italy assume dramatic values, as actually we have 21.4 % of population over 65 (13 million) and we will have 33.6 % (18.7 million) by 2050. Nowadays about 300000 elderly live in just less than 6000 care homes in Italy. These buildings operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with full occupancy. For these reasons reducing energy consumption in residential care homes is important. This paper focuses on the study of the energy performance of a residential care home for elderly people in Vicenza (North East of Italy). A preliminary energy audit was carried out in order to obtain appropriate information about energy consumption of the building. Moving from the request of the managers responsible for running the care home, a Trnsys simulation model of the building/HVAC plant system was developed with the aim to test different solutions to retrofit the heating/cooling plant. Some of the best available technologies (photovoltaic, cogeneration, trigeneration, heat pumps) were compared by an energy and economic analysis in order to assess potential energy investment options to make energy efficient informed decisions.
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