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Green Business

Green public procurement at Pesaro School: Enhancing sustainability in educational infrastructure

Case study of the city of Pesaro, Italy

Image of a school building. Light coloured building.
Coop Consorzio Conscoop – Formula Servizi, Idrotermica Coop, Siem Impianti

Procurement category: Buildings – New Build

Environmental and social impacts targeted: Reduced energy consumption, lower CO2 emissions, improved waste management, enhanced community space, improved social integration, better learning environment.

Relevant EU legislation/policy/guidance: EU GPP criteria for Office building design, construction and management


The City of Pesaro, serving a community within the Marche region of Italy, manages procurement for local public institutions including schools. The need for sustainable construction of the "Antonio Brancati" secondary school buildings arose from increasing environmental concerns and the necessity to comply with EU directives on energy efficiency. The city set the challenge of achieving a school building "friendly to the environment and people," capable of creating favourable spaces for study and in harmony with the surrounding houses. The project specifically focused on exceeding the standards of a nearly zero-energy building (nZEB) and incorporating sustainable building practices.

What were the procurement objectives?  

The procurement strategy for the "Antonio Brancati" school was developed to address the need for energy efficiency and enhanced living comfort in educational facilities. A restricted procedure was selected to ensure that only qualified bidders who could meet the stringent sustainability criteria were considered. Pre-procurement activities included market consultation and a thorough analysis of available technologies and materials that would meet the nZEB criteria. The aim was to develop a modern school building using environmentally friendly materials and advanced energy-efficient technologies.

Tender requirements

The tender required adherence to stringent energy performance parameters such as achieving zero annual energy balance using non-renewable energy sources and specific indoor air quality standards. EU GPP criteria, national energy standards, and LEED certification were utilized to formulate these requirements. 

Technical specifications 

Technical specifications ensured environmental standards of construction and operation of the building, as well as occupant well-being.

  • The building was required to meet Near Zero Energy Building criteria, which mandates that annual energy consumption from non-renewable sources be zero. To support this, the specifications outlined specific values for primary energy consumption and renewable energy supply. Bidders were required to submit a technical report confirming compliance with the Near Zero Energy Building (NZEB) requirements. This report had to be in accordance with the Italian Ministerial Decree of 26 June 2015 and the Minimum Environmental Criteria (CAM) approved by the Ministerial Decree of 11 January 2017. The calculations for this compliance had to be performed using software certified by the Italian Thermotechnical Committee.

It was mandatory that bidders commit to certification of a LEED score with a minimum threshold of GOLD standard and technical proposals were assessed to ensure feasibility. Claims of a higher level, such as Platinum, had to be verifiable through project design and expected practices. Failure to meet the minimum LEED score would result in a 10% penalty, withheld until necessary adjustments were made. As a result, the technical specifications included:

  • Indoor environmental quality: with maximum allowable CO2 concentrations in classrooms set at 1000 ppm as a daily average, along with specific thermal comfort ranges—minimum operative temperatures of 19-21°C in winter and maximum of 25-27°C in summer were mandated. Bidders had to outline how they intended to meet these standards, providing details about the installation and operation of sensors, HVAC systems, and other relevant methods.
  • Material use was also regulated under the specifications, requiring the use of Environmental Product Declarations for key construction materials such as reinforced concrete and insulating materials. Moreover, all paints, adhesives, and wooden products needed to have environmental certifications, such as relevant ecolabels, FSCPEFC or equivalent. Bidders were required to present all Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and relevant environmental certifications to demonstrate compliance.
  • The content of recovered or recycled material must be at least 15% by weight of the total materials used. This aligns with the principles of the Minimum Environmental Criteria (Criteri Ambientali Minimi, CAM) in Italian law. This specific requirement encourages the use of recycled and recovered materials in manufacturing and construction processes. 
  • The project also highlighted specific CAM implementation obligations for the construction company to minimize indoor exposure to low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF) by placing electrical panels, meters, and risers outside living areas and arranging electrical systems using star, tree, or fishbone diagrams to keep conductors close together.
  • Proposals had to reference the Interministerial Decree of 16 February 2016 and its related annex, which contained the eligibility criteria for interventions. This ensured that all bidders were aligned with current governmental standards and expectations for energy and environmental design.

Award Criteria

-Technical offer (85 points):

  1. Energy efficiency and environmental sustainability (up to 62 points):
    1. Specific scores are allocated for improvements in different aspects of the building envelope and systems:
      1. Thermohygrometric efficiency of transparent elements: 8 points
      2. Thermohygrometric efficiency of roofing: 8 points
      3. Thermohygrometric efficiency of perimeter walls: 8 points
      4. Ventilated facade: 6 points
      5. External sunshades: 6 points
      6. Lighting system: 8 points
      7. Mechanical ventilation systems with heat recovery: 7 points
      8. Heat pumps: 11 points
  2. Innovation in sustainability (up to 23 points):

Bidders were required to design their projects so that they could achieve the specified certification upon completion. Points were awarded based on the extent to which the projects convincingly met or exceeded the LEED ambitions. This included using advanced sustainable materials, integrating renewable energy systems, and employing innovative construction techniques that go beyond the standard practices. 

  • Energy consumption monitoring system: 6 points

  • Management of material collection and waste storage area: 2 points

  • Building’s energy and environmental sustainability certification: 15 points

Quality was assessed based on the durability, performance, and environmental credentials of the materials used. Points were also given for the proposal of quality of workmanship and site management, which had to meet or exceed the standards laid out in the project technical specifications.

-Economic offer (5 points):

Cost-effectiveness of the proposed solution. The award criteria focused on sustainable and circular standards, giving more importance to technological quality. After discussions with the market, this balance was chosen to recognize advanced solutions and ensure significant project improvements and mutual financial benefits.

-Time of completion (10 points):

Speed of project execution, with a minimum time limit of 300 days for project completion to ensure realistic bids. Concepts were assessed on both the speed and the feasibility of the proposed timelines. 


Each category within the technical offer had specified performance metrics, such as thermal transmittance (U-values) for different building elements (transparent elements, roofing, walls, etc.). Bidders were required to submit detailed technical documentation and evidence (like EPDs) that their proposed solutions met or exceeded these metrics. Scores were calculated proportionally based on how much each proposal improved upon the baseline or minimum required performance standards set in the tender. The better the performance improvement over the baseline, the higher the score awarded. 

Contract Performance Conditions

  • Environmental Product Declarations (EPD): Required for construction materials like reinforced concrete, concrete, and insulation materials of the roof and the envelope.


The adoption of green criteria significantly influenced the tendering process, attracting bids from three suppliers who could meet the high standards set out in the tender. All suppliers managed to comply with the requirements, with no significant issues in assessing or verifying the tenders. The contract was awarded to a bidder who excelled in all green criteria, particularly in energy efficiency and sustainability. The contract was valued at approximately €3.1 million, with a duration of three years, covering the design process, the tendering and construction phase.

Image of a classroom, with chairs and tables, a screen.
Coop Consorzio Conscoop – Formula Servizi, Idrotermica Coop, Siem Impianti

What were the impacts of this tender?


The "Antonio Brancati" secondary school project is noteworthy for its remarkable environmental accomplishments, including being awarded the highest "Schools" energy environmental certifications in Europe and globally among the LEED system. The project was developed using a circular economy approach, which optimized sustainable building materials and technologies to reduce waste and save raw materials. 

Technical details of the "Antonio Brancati" secondary school in the city of Pesaro

Construction & demolition waste98% of 556,630 kg of waste recycled or recovered, including onsite separation for paper, metal, plastic, and glass.
Architectural designOriented to maximize solar gain and natural lighting, harmonious facade tones enhance community space.
Labelling & standards

Achieved LEED Platinum with 88 points, meets nZEB standards

The maximum primary energy use for the dwelling in a year is 26.8 kWhpe/m2.year (Calculation method: UNI TS 11300)

Comfort featuresCustomizable temperature, controlled lighting (natural and artificial), high acoustic performance, bike parking, electric car charging, high indoor air quality with CO2 monitoring and air exchange of 5 volumes per hour.
Natural ventilationOpenings in upper window sections for natural ventilation.
Solar controlIntegrated motorized shutters with light and overheating sensors.
Green roofMediterranean plants for temperature control, pollution abatement, and biodiversity.
Rainwater useCollecting tanks for irrigation of green spaces and roof.
Water consumption reductionAerated taps and efficient flush tanks cut water use by 50%.
Envelope efficiencyVentilated porcelain stoneware walls for reduced overheating and maintenance.
Energy consumption reduction59.07% TEP reduction, 34.8% annual cost reduction, enhanced by thermal insulation, optimized lighting, and automatic control systems.
Renewable energy systems158.40 m2 photovoltaic installation with 28.8 kW power output, 113.5 kW heat pump, and energy-efficient heating/cooling systems.

The project addressed key environmental impacts such as energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and indoor air quality. By achieving the NZEB standard, the school is expected to have a nearly zero net energy consumption, which substantially lowers its carbon footprint. 

The tender resulted in three ‘firsts’: 

  • The highest scoring “Schools” energy environmental certification in Europe;

  • The third highest scoring “Schools” energy environmental certification in the world out of 1,733 certifications in LEED system;

  • The highest scoring v4 “Schools” certification in the world.


The Antonio Brancati school has successfully transformed an abandoned urban area into a communal space, which promotes social integration and inclusion. By offering state-of-the-art educational facilities, it provides an exemplary learning environment that supports both students and staff with optimal acoustic, air quality, and thermal conditions. The school has become a hub for community engagement, attracting families and educators, and stimulating local businesses and infrastructure development. This comprehensive revitalization has not only enriched the educational landscape but also invigorated the socio-economic fabric of the surrounding area, demonstrating a successful model for urban renewal and community development.

What are the lessons learned? 

  • Final users’ engagement was crucial to develop the project to meet their needs. During the initial planning stage of the design, multiple meetings were scheduled with teachers, school headmasters and the members of school office of the municipality. Additionally, a workshop was conducted during the school year by some teachers to engage students in envisioning the new school and playground through their own artistic interpretations. Unfortunately, due to the COVID situation, the planned interview phase was postponed.
  • Collaboration during the whole process, design planning, tendering and construction phase was vital to overcome any problems that arose especially during the construction phase such as the COVID pandemic, availability of materials, compliance with contractual deadlines.

  • For future procurements, integrating advanced renewable energy solutions will be prioritized, building upon the successes demonstrated by the Antonio Brancati Middle School. This project showed what is possible with high sustainability standards, setting a benchmark for future initiatives.
  • The project underscored the importance of rigorous market consultation to identify feasible green solutions, crucial for achieving the high LEED Platinum standard. This approach ensured that clear, measurable and relevant criteria were integrated into tenders, and stringent compliance checks maintained throughout the process.

More information

Tender documents available online.

City of Pesaro, Italy

Relevant EU legislation/policy/guidance: EU GPP criteria for Office building design, construction and management