Roberto SCOTTA


Coupling seismic retrofits and energy improvement. An Italian feedback.

Over the past century in Italy seismic events of medium- high intensity took place every 5 years on the average. Just to mention last ones: L’Aquila 2009, Emilia 2012, and Center of Italy 2017. They had dramatic effects in terms of casualties and economic impact, due to the serious seismic inadequacy of the building stock built mainly before the 60/70-ies of the last century – with the economic boom and the industrialization following the World War II - in absence of the modern seismic hazard map of the territory and when the seismic engineering, and consequently seismic codes, were in their embryonic phase. Further costs – direct and indirect – caused by seismic events are not affordable by the Italian society and represent a burden for the entire European Community.

The same building stock, even that built only some years ago, is highly energy-consuming and carbon dioxide-emitting, thus contributing to trigger hazards related to climate changes. It has become completely inadequate for the urgent need to assure sustainability in our society: in Europe, Roadmap 2050 envisions greenhouse gas emissions being cut by 80-95% with respect to the 1990 levels.
The radical substitution of the building stock is obviously impossible for economic and sustainability reasons and for the need of the preservation of the architectural and historical heritage – a particularly sensitive matter in Italy. In this context, renovation actions addressing both energy and seismic issues are strongly needed.

This complex situation - apparently without solution – fostered on one side legislative interventions by the State, on the other side the applied scientific research for methods and technologies towards an “integrated retrofitting” of existing buildings.
Specific decree-laws– the so called sisma-bonus and eco-bonus decrees – were issued to boost the self-intervention of the owners of existing buildings by means of consistent tax deduction in case of works aiming at seismic and/or energetic upgrading. The amount of tax deduction can reach 85% of the total costs in case of intervention on block-buildings, to be spread in 5 years. The intention of the sisma-bonus decree is to shift from an after-shock reparation approach to a damage prevention strategy. The main tool for the application of the sisma-bonus is the seismic classification of buildings, i.e. an objective procedure to measure the initial seismic safety conditions and the efficacy of the seismic retrofit interventions. Seismic classification allows to prioritize and to assign the economic resources made available with the sisma-bonus decree. In a perspective view, seismic class will also influence market value of buildings – as the energetic classification of the buildings already does – and it could become essential for seismic insurance policy.

Seismic classification introduced with sisma-bonus represents a simplified – also defined “conventional” and therefore practically usable even if with intrinsic defects - version of the methodology developed at PEER based on the Expected Annual Loss parameter. Essential concepts and practical uses of Italian seismic classification procedure will be given in the presentation.

On the other side, the engineering community is involved in developing procedures and methods for the sustainable integrated retrofit of the building stock. In the speech, the work done by the author in understanding how strengthening interventions of timber floors affect the seismic performances of historical masonry buildings will be illustrated. Also the theoretical development and experimental validation of an integral retrofit methodology called “seismic thermal coat” will be shown. Its efficacy in the context of sisma-bonus and eco-bonus decrees will be demonstrated with practical case studies.

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  • Birth: August 16, 1967 – Treviso (Italy)
  • Assistant Professor of Structural Design at the Department of Civil, Architectural, Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering (DICEA) of the University of Padova (Italy) from 2006.
  • Member of the Faculty of the Ph.D. School in Civil and Environmental Engineering Sciences (SIC&A) of the University of Padova.
  • Member of the Scientific Committee of ISI (Italian Seismic Engineering) and CRIACIV (Inter-University Research Centre on Building Aerodynamics and Wind Engineering).
  • Updated H-index: 15 according to Scopus, excluding auto-citations.


  • 1992 – master’s degree in structural civil engineering at the University of Padova discussing a thesis on “Durability of r.c. Structures”;
  • 1998 – Ph.D in Structural Mechanics at the University of Bologna, discussing a thesis on “Mechanical Analysis of Concrete Structures by Means of Damage Models”;
  • 1998-99 – post Ph.D. research activities in the Scientific Area n. 9 – Civil Engineering and Architecture – on the theme “Development of Non Linear Constitutive Models Based on Continuum Damage for the Seismic Analysis of R.C. Structures”.

University classes held at University of Padova

  • 2003/04 to 2005/06 – Contract Teacher for “Precasted Structures” course, Master Civil Engineering Program.
  • 2006/2007 to 2007/08 – Contract Teacher for “Structural Design II” course, Master Civil Engineering Program.
  • From 2008/09 to 2015/16– “Structural Construction I”, Bachelor Civil Engineering Program.
  • From 2012/13 to 2017/18 – “Precast and Timber Structures”, Master Civil Engineering Program.
  • From 2016/17 – “Structural Construction II”, Master Civil Engineering Program.
  • From 2018/19 – “Timber Structures”, Master Civil Engineering Program.
  • Teacher and organization duties in several Master courses and Professional Updating Courses on the themes of Structural Durability, Structural Design, Eurocodes, Seismic Design, Retrofitting of existing buildings, Finite Element Analysis.

Educational activities

He is member of the scientific committee of a Ph.D. school from 2007. Currently he is member of the scientific committee of that of “Doctoral School of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Sciences” of the University of Padova.

During his academic career he has tutored:

  • 10 Ph.D. fellows ( on-going)
  • About 300 bachelor degree thesis
  • More than 120 master degree thesis

Research activities

His research activity covers the following fields:

  1. Durability of R.C. structures and historical buildings;
  2. Computational non-linear mechanics of materials
  3. Coupled problems: soil-structure and fluid-structure
  4. Computational methods for the design of complex buildings
  5. Seismic analysis and strengthening of existing and historical buildings
  6. Hybrid steel-concrete structures
  7. R.C. shear-walls cast into no-bearing formworks
  8. Timber Structures
  9. Novel Constructive Techniques
  10. Seismic performances of non-structural elements

It is documented about 130 scientific publications, of which 36 are papers on int. journals with referees and 2 are didactic books. He is also coauthors of two international patents for innovative systems for timber construction.