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Dante Alighieri Middle School: renovation of gymnasium in Pesaro, Italy

Highlighted Case August 2017
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The “Dante Alighieri” school gymnasium sets an example of best practices in public building renovation through a well thought-out and careful design based on a sustainable bioclimatic study of the site and by applying a simple construction method on the existing gymnasium.  The building has achieved high performance results in terms of the use of renewable energy as well as a lower production of CO2.





Via Gattoni, 13, 61121 Pesaro PU, Itàlia


Project team


Architect: Margherita Finamore

Contractor: Ugo Morselli

Thermal consultancy: Antonio Vitale


Time schedule


Built: 1964

Renovation project design: 2005

Renovation design approved: 2009

Renovation works: 2010 - 2013


Building use and area


The "Dante Alighieri" school is a large building complex (4.200 m2) which is divided into three different volumes: a school for 560 pupils, a gymnasium and an auditorium.  The gym is between the school and auditorium, projecting out above the entrance hall and creating an overhanging roof to protect the entranceway.


Plot area: 650 m2

Total Usable Floor Area: 634 m2


Renovation costs


Renewable energy system cost: 341,202.00 €

Total renovation cost: 721,533.00 €

Cost/m2: 1,138 €/m2

Cost/Pupil: 1,288 €/pupil


Envelope performance


This retrofit lays the foundation for the development of sustainability criteria for the school (e.g. environmental integrity and economic efficiency) as the retrofit is done on the existing structure of steel, using a lighter external cladding as a "ventilated wall", new insulation for the false ceiling and new glass frames, with a preference of materials from a natural origin. 
The building envelope acts as a ¨ventilated wall¨ - the building skin interacts with the internal and external environment by taking into account the daily temperature and season.


The exterior envelope of the building was covered by a fibre cement panel making a strong weather-proof cladding board characterised by its muted, matt finish.  The material is highly resistant towards water staining and dirt and ensures a long-lasting and durable façade.


The interior envelope was insulated with wood wool mineralised with magnesite panels.  All components of the panels are made of natural materials with a total absence of harmful substances. This, therefore, makes the panels particularly suitable for a school and for the well-being of students and teachers. These panels provide thermal as well as acoustic insulation. The panels also have another advantage in that there are no requirements for special maintenance, they are resistance to compression, and are vapour permeable and flame resistant.



U value (before renovation)


U value (after renovation)




Opaque element




Transparent element




External attic




Attic of coverage






Energy consumption


The renovation has achieved an 80% reduction of the primary energy need (117 to 22 kWh/m2.year).  

-primary energy need before renovation: 117.00 kWh/m2.year

-primary energy need: 22.00 kWh/m2.year

-primary energy need for standard building: 88 kWh/m2.year

Calculation method: UNITS 11300


Energy systems


The renovation project takes into account a careful design based on sustainable bioclimatic study of the site, considering the external environment (Coastal Mediterranean climate) and the particular internal conditions (high water vapour production).

Designing the Energy systems had been evaluated separately for summer and winter conditions: orientation, proximity of the west hill, temperature, damp, direction of the dominant winds, summer sea breezes. 

There is a new autonomous heating system which uses an electric heat pump with varying refrigerant gas. This is made up of a group of external refrigerators distributed to the interior. There are 4 units throughout the false ceiling in the gym. The warm air produced by the heat pump is circulated through terminal units of the anemostat regulating the flow to tall induction. The exchange of the air in the measure of 3,000 mc/h is supported by 4 heat exchange recoveries. The global system is supported by photovoltaic panels for the production of electricity and the installation of solar panels for the production of domestic hot water (DHW), to make the building energy needs more economic and functional, not only for the school uses itself but also for amateur sports groups using the gym when the school is closed.


Heating system: Heat pump and fan coils

Hot water system: Individual electric boiler

Cooling system: Reversible heat pump and Variable Refrigerant Volume system (VRV Syst.)

Ventilation system: Double flow heat exchanger

Renewable systems: Photovoltaic panels for electricity production and solar panels for domestic hot water systems production.

Renewable energy production: 59.67%



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