Smart nZEB - Botticelli project

Building description

NameSmart nZEB - Botticelli project
LocationMascalucia (Catania) - Italy
Building OwnerCarmelo Sapienza
Type of buildingResidential
Use typeResidential

The Building


Botticelli is a Smart NZEB built in Passive House Standard in Sicily near to the Etna Vulcan, in the town of Mascalucia, in Catania Province. It is a first example of Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) adopting complete integrated design of Passivhaus lnstitut concept in South Mediterranean climate. It is also the first Passive House in Sicily and in addition it has become an Active House with positive energy generation. Progetto Botticelli is a Passive House zero energy residential building where home automation improves energy efficiency, indoor conditions and living comfort. The building, with 144 m2 of gross floor area, is designed as zero-energy building and it’s certified according to Passivhaus standard, respecting requirements in terms of thermal performances, air-tightness, and comfort quality. This advanced zero-energy building was designed by Eng. Carmelo Sapienza of Sapienza & Partners technical firm, with the support of dynamic simulations and comfort optimization techniques provided by eERG-PoliMI - the end-use Efficiency Research Group of Politecnico di Milano. eERG-PoliMI has been closely monitoring energy and comfort performances of the building for 2 years. Also some industrial partners have been involved in the activities, namely Rockwool, Siemens, PM Plastic Material and Herholdt Controls. The construction works were completed at the end of year 2012 and the building occupation started at the beginning of 2013.


Quality Management

  • The building management system is based on software Desigo CC by Siemens. In addition, to control the main functions, mainly related to the system part based on the Konnex protocol, another system is installed, called Ikon by Domotica Labs. Desigo system has a general control on all components and it has been developed to allow comprehensive monitoring and research activities in this innovative nZEB, while Ikon system represents the first interface for the building users and it has been designed to be replicable in other residential projects. 
  • The monitoring and control system has been developed and installed in different steps, reaching the actual configuration after implementation activities in the Quantum project. Measured results are available even for previous periods, thanks to the parts of the system which were already in operation. The system can control and monitor about 400 data points. Measured values can be exported in text files (csv format).
Building owner:Eng. Carmelo Sapienza
Facility Management:Sapienza & Partners
TMon/ CxSapienza & Partners and eERG-PoliMi

During the start-up phase, various inspections were arranged to measure and test the functionality of the air-conditioning, cooling and heating systems. Additionally, on-site visits were arranged to determine the quality of execution in reference to the configuration of hydraulics for the air-conditioning, cooling and heating systems. During the trial operation – carried out before the official hand-over – the data of the building automation was recorded for two weeks. Inspections are now taking place in semi-annual cycles to examine the performance in the first years of operation and to evaluate the weather-related system status.

Building’s technical equipment

System/typePower, source/fuel type, size, circuits …Selected for QM-process
HeatingSolar thermal panels integrated with reversible air-to-water heat pump
  • Domestic hot water
  • Heating coil
Hot water storageTechnical water storage500 lNo
CoolingAir system connected to the reversible air-to-water heat pump
  • Cooling coil
VentilationThe mechanical ventilation system is centralized and it has a heat recovery unit and an earth-to-air heat exchanger for the pre-heating or pre-cooling of supply airMax air flow rate = 350 m3/hYes
Cold sourceReversible air-to-water heat pumpElectricityNo
LightingIn the conditioned rooms, in the garden and outdoor spaces, artificial lighting is provided by LED lamps. They can be switched on and off also automatically, according to properly defined time schedules. In the garage and service rooms, fluorescent tubes lamps are installed and they can be controlled manually or by presence sensors installed in the spacesElectricityNo
Electrical supplyPower grid and photovoltaic panelsPV: 8.16 kWpNo

Energy Performance (Evaluation of Savings)

Baseline (kWh/a)Savings (kWh/a)%Savings (kg/a)
Heating Energy
Cooling Energy

Operational Performance