Over 700 residents of Eixample will reduce the energy consumption of their homes by 30% thanks to Illa Eficient (Efficient Block) a public-private initiative arising from the Hábitat Futura Group, the Government of Catalonia and with the collaboration of Barcelona City Council to promote a new model of sustainable renovation and building in the city.
The first community to form part of this project will be that of the block between Gran Via and the streets Carrer Viladomat, Carrer Diputació and Carrer Calàbria. In total, the works will cover a total of 22 buildings and 390 homes. The renovation works in one of the buildings began months ago. The block in question has 12 properties and is on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 469. It is a highly complex building with a high level of cultural heritage protection to which solutions are being applied for the structural and maintenance deficiencies, incorporating energy efficiency and sustainability measures. This has been verified during a visit to the works by the Director of the Hábitat Futura Group and the developer of the Illa Eficient project, Cèlia Galera; the Doctor of Architecture from the UPC and Manager of Sustainability of Illa Eficient, Antoni Fontseca; and the Councillor for Housing, Lucía Martín.
“Unlike what has happened in other European countries, for many years in Spain, a large amount of resources have been allocated to construction and new builds, while renovation policies have been completely relegated to second place. Today we have housing stock that is totally inefficient in energy terms and not very comfortable for residents”, explains Lucía Martín.
The objective is to carry out a comprehensive and energy renovation, respecting the heritage value of the block, which dates back to the beginning of the 1900s. In this regard, the doors, windows and ceilings will be reinforced with resistant materials to improve the thermal insulation and protect the flats from the heat in summer and the cold in winter. Other actions will also be carried out such as the installation of community aerothermal heating and photovoltaic panels to produce energy to light the stairwell and power the lift, some actions that will enable it to be more efficient and reduce the energy costs for the community. The objective is that the electricity consumption costs of the community of residents are covered 100% and the surplus generated could reduce the bills of the individual residents.
“It is a challenge to find a balance between the maintenance of our historic and cultural heritage with that of energy transition”, explains Cèlia Galera.
A pioneer project
Illa Eficient is designed as an initiative to make investment by property owners more convenient. Each property has different problems, and the degree of economic investment varies because the actions carried out to improve efficiency are different in each case.
In the specific case of the property at Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 469, the residents of the block have formed a cooperative to obtain fiscal benefits, pay less taxes and have more security. The total cost of the renovation works is 1 million euros. The owners have paid half of the cost of the works, and the other half has been subsidised by the administration. Furthermore, the European Next Generation funds will provide continuity to this line of renovation with the focus on energy efficiency and sustainability.
This action carried out on the block located between Gran Via and the streets Carrer Viladomat, Carrer Calàbria and Carrer Diputació will not be an isolated case. There are plans to extend it to other blocks in the city with similar characteristics and that require an energy renovation project.