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BREEAM at SAIE Innovation – The Italian Job

Agnese Riccetti of the BREEAM International team reports from SAIE Expo in Bologna, held at the end of October 2016.

Italy is a country full of contradictions and still tackling an economic crisis which has affected all business areas including the building sector. However, given its intrinsic features and history this country cannot be exempt from the passion for good quality architecture and an immense curiosity for innovation. Agnese Riccetti of the BREEAM International team reports from SAIE Expo in Bologna, held in October 2016.

SAIE Innovation, conceived by the UK-based company OnGreening, is a space dedicated to innovative products in the construction sector within the SAIE Expo in Bologna, now in its 52nd year and one of the most famous construction exhibitions in Italy. BREEAM could have not missed this event of course and I received an invitation to deliver a presentation on BREEAM in my home country. So an exciting opportunity for me!

Agnese Riccetti of BREEAM at SAIE Bologna
Agnese Riccetti of BREEAM at SAIE Bologna

SAIE Innovation was at the centre of the Expo, it was a modern and dynamic space with two striking features as the main attractions: a wooden nest architecture, used as a friendly and comfortable space for professional networking, and an arena space, with presentations on different topics every day.

The Saturday morning was entirely dedicated to BREEAM. My presentation came first, an overall description of the BREEAM schemes, the benefits and some notable case studies. It was an intense presentation but one that included a high level of interaction and the audience followed with strong interest and curiosity.

After my presentation it was the turn of Eleonora Sablone, a BREEAM Assessor and an enthusiastic professional whose knowledge and activity includes several sectors in the construction industry. Her presentation was a comprehensive and practiced description of LCA and of the BRE Green Guide, explaining all aspects and potential of this useful and precious tool. It was followed by Mario Zambrini, a well-known professional in the EIA sector in Italy and CEO of Ambiente Italia, presenting a comparison of LCA tools. Last but not least was an authentic UK guest, James Todd, associate director of Architype, who displayed images of the Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia, a BREEAM Outstanding rating project, winner of the 2016 BREEAM Awards – best education project, and designed by Architype. The morning was full and dense with information, but the format of the seminars were active and vibrant, so the attention of the audience remained high.

Presenting at SAIE Innovation was a great opportunity for networking and business development in a country where BREEAM is not yet widely used, but in which developers, professionals and young students from architecture and engineering faculties are on the hunt for innovative solutions to develop the sector. That experience taught me how important it is to be at the forefront and be present in person, because no matter how technology improves means of communication, sometimes shaking hands will still be more powerful.

For more information on BREEAM in Italy and around the world go to