Project Manager:

Mohamed Elagiry
Sustainability Division

Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) are increasingly being considered by various certification systems such as LEED, BREEAM and WELL. However, we note a lack of knowledge, methodologies and software tools to support the modeling and quantification of NBS. This shortcoming is reflected in the requests coming from our clients, architects and property managers looking for sustainability certifications of buildings and real estate assets. R2M Solution has identified the opportunity to become a market leader in Italy in the supply of software, consulting and certification services of Nature-Based Solutions in the urban environment.

As a result of this project and collaborations forged within, R2M today is the “Master Licensing Partner” for the innovative product GreenPass in Italy.

There are currently no NBS simulation and certification services in Italy based on a rigorous approach and a simulation engine. In other words, there is no Italian Greenpass. However, the qualitative and quantitative assessment of the contribution of NBS to the urban environment is specifically required by some sustainability protocols. For example, refer to the criteria 88 and 100 of the international WELL protocol, defined respectively Biophilia – qualitative and Biophilia – quantitative, that is, a measure of “biophilia” understood as “naturalistic intelligence” and “innate affinity of the human organism towards nature. “. The Envi-met software represents the world state of the art in microclimatic simulation systems. The engine is able to simulate both energy and particle processes for areas up to 10 hectares in size, with time increments of less than one second and an internal resolution of two meters. Even larger areas can be simulated by accepting a small loss of internal resolution. The material database includes all conventional urban surfaces, enriched with physical properties such as heat flux, albedo etc. Envi-met has the unique ability to simulate the reaction of vegetation under different climatic conditions, calculating water consumption, CO2 absorption, aerodynamics, leaf surface index and so on. In general, climate models that take into account the effects of vegetation lead to eco-compatible planning processes only when they are aligned with traditional planning tools, the same ones used daily by architects and urban planners. What Envi-Met (and other similar software) lacks is the link to the corresponding planning data, such as cost indicators or areas of use. There is also no user interface that allows professionals to use the system together with conventional tools such as CAD and GIS. At the moment there is no methodological approach to use the software in the existing certification protocols (LEED, BREEAM, WELL) and there is no dedicated certification system, as well as a scale of merit (for example silver, gold, platinum) for the parameters of output presented by Envi-met. For these reasons, a system such as GREENCERT will allow to synthesize in a unitary parameter the various factors that contribute to the definition of the sustainability of an intervention. Based on the set of indicators available, the system can vary the type of certification: from a complete certification of the ecological performance (assuming that you have all the required parameters) to partial certifications (for example: energy performance and effects on the urban climate) . The system also allows to identify improvement scenarios: based on the project scenario, the system simulates improvements and enhancement of environmental performance using NBS-type interventions that are extended to all built-up or natural surfaces (e.g. green walls and roofs, plantings , water drainage improvement systems) considered. The cost / benefit parameter is verified for each project scenario.

R2M designed and oversaw a collaboration with the University of Pavia which aimed to explore and realize this opportunity,and consisted of three phases Phase I – Jan-Mar: construction of the decision support system (DSS) starting from a rigorous simulation engine Identification of physical-technical calculation algorithms, evapotranspiration, climatic calculation Identification of software and simulation systems of three-dimensional spaces. Verification of the interoperability of existing systems with particular reference to the ENVI-met engine ( emerging simulation engine) Acquisition of licenses for the simulation engine and integration within the DSS Documentation of the process and methodology of the decision support system for NBS (NBS-DSS) Phase II Apr-Jun: mapping of existing certification systems and preparation of the case study Definition of performance indicators (KPI) and outputs required to support the existing certification Identification of the types of input for the systems: geometric, climatic, physical Definition of the different l levels of user interaction / computing system Definition of a “case study” area within the municipality of Segrate (MI) and acquisition of the necessary data / input parameters Phase III Jun-Sep: Case study execution, Business case and creation of the GREENCERT Rating Scheme Execution and certification of the case study in Segrate. Definition of service offer and Business Plan Proposal for a certification GREENCERT Italiana.

This project has received funding from the Regione Lombardia INNODRIVER-S3 – Edizione 2017 – Misure A-B-C, (a valere sul POR FESR 2014 –2020)