How Renovating Old Houses in Spain Can Combat Climate Change
According to the Unlock campaign, promoted by organizations such as Positive Money Europe, ECODES or Green Building Europe, the in-depth rehabilitation of buildings could mean an average saving in households of €1,140 on average. According to these organizations, Spain is far from its 2050 targets of zero net emissions in its buildings. It would still have to undertake the renovation of 300,000 homes.
Older houses are real black holes through which the energy we consume in our homes goes. Most of the housing stock in Spain predates the 1980s, so it is not designed to save energy. According to the National Association of Ceramics and Construction Materials (Andimac), more than 80% of homes in Spain are of low energy quality.
Undertaking the renovation of these homes is an opportunity for Spain to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and move towards greater energy independence. To this end, the government has earmarked 6.8 billion for the Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience Plan (PRTR), for building refurbishment. This is an opportunity on which companies, professional organizations, and local administrations have focused their efforts. But the plan is not turning out as expected and the excessive bureaucratic processing is slowing down the release of the millions as well as the beneficial effect on our country’s climate accounts.
According to the Unlock campaign, promoted by organizations such as Positive Money Europe, ECODES, or Green Building Europe, the in-depth rehabilitation of buildings could mean an average saving in households of €1,140 on average. According to these organizations, Spain is far from its 2050 targets of zero net emissions in its buildings. It would still have to undertake the renovation of 300,000 homes.
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Why the renovation of old houses is so important
Emilio Miguel Mitre, the coordinator of Green Building Council España (GBCe), considers that right now the main bottleneck “is the delay in the calls for proposals from the Autonomous Regions. In a favorable sense, measures have been developed to facilitate the process, with more flexible documentation to obtain subsidies, and the establishment of accompanying structures.”
According to Miguel Mitre, some 500,000 families should decide to renovate in the coming years. “To this end, a communication campaign is essential for citizens to find rehabilitation attractive,” he said. “The situation is very delicate because, although the increase in the price of energy makes rehabilitation seem like an interesting option, its complexity, and its cost, continue to grow (which means that the real amount of aid is being devalued rapidly in relative terms), continues to keep the decision to rehabilitate somewhat distant,” he added.
David Paramio, general manager of Agentia R+ -a company dedicated to rehabilitation-) sees a problem in the lack of publicity of these funds to the citizen “it is here where the state administration up to the municipal administration has a long way to go in the responsibility of activating and informing about the funds and the different consumption programs that exist”, he affirms.
Paramio also points to the ACs as being responsible for the administrative bottleneck. “The big problem is the lack of management and review of applications at the individual and business level that is collapsing the entities of the Autonomous Regions. The volume of funds is very large, but it also generates a lot of bureaucratic work in terms of document review, economic aid, and technical requirements. To sum up, if this is the largest volume of funds ever received by Spain, this implies that it must also mean the largest volume of investment by the administration in order to consume these funds within the deadlines established by Spain, and therefore by Europe,” said the head of Agentia R+.
Susana Pérez Castaños, head of the Rehabilitation Aid Management Office of the Madrid Association of Quantity Surveyors said “after months of advice and information, we are beginning to see this work materialize with the large number of files that are beginning to enter the office”. Pérez Castaños also stresses that subsidies are not easy, “as there are many points to justify and accredit. It requires a great deal of informative work for citizens in general and training in particular for the technicians involved in the process. Once this work has been done, everything will go faster.”
David Paramio pointed out another solution: “The only way to speed up the consumption of funds and make management more dynamic is to create private subsidy management offices that depend on the administration, but which help to process the tremendous volume of funds and also the visibility of their consumption,” said the businessman.
(Featured image by Ryan_Hogg via Pixabay)
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First published in EL INDEPENDIENTE, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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