Energy efficiency and financing for social housing

June 5, World Environment Day, was the elected framework for organizing the SuSoh Congress dedicated to energy efficiency and access to finance in social houses, which made gather professionals from the construction and finance sectors at the European Commission Representation in Spain. The 19 experts that had come from different parts of Spain and Europe centered their talks around district regeneration and passive measures implemented in a type of highly polluting housing zone with important energy consumption levels such as social houses in order to reach Europe’s energetic sustainability goals.

The event was organized by ENACE, the Spanish Association of Energy Auditors and Certifiers under the patronage of the European Commission as one of the Spanish events taking place in Madrid during the 2015 edition of the EU Sustainable Energy Week.

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Alfredo Paz, Director General of ENACE welcomed with satisfaction the important support received by EU institutions for the work realized by ENACE in building capacity to prepare a sufficient number of competent professionals on the European market that help to effectively implement Directive 2012/27/EU about energy efficiency.

The keynote speaker Paula Rey García, Buildings Team Leader at the European Commission DG Energy’s Energy Efficiency Unit stressed the need to facilitate access to existing funding sources for energy retroffiting of buildings so as to achieve energy performance improvements  and at the same time stimulate the local job market and create between 20-35 jobs per million € invested in energy retrofitting, according to studies carried out by DG Energy. Due to the economic and financial crisis that has been affecting Europe, there is not enough public money available for energy reconversion. Therfore, alternative funding sources are a conditio sine qua non for massively upscaling building renovation rates. It was highlighted during the event that improving the energy performance of Europe’s building stock on the one hand boosts the European economy’s growth and, on the other hand, remedies fuel poverty, a severe phenomenon affecting an important fringe of society incapable to pay energy bills.

Brian Field, Urban Planning and Development Adviser at the Luxemburg-based European Investment Bank highlighted the fact that at the same time as the EIB is not for profit, it also is not for loss, having as a consequence that the guarantees being requested from borrowers are important and funding rates vary. Among the speakers were also several representatives of the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group EEFIG, created by the European Commission and UNO in order to release attractive alternative funding schemes such as capital funds specialized in energy efficiency.

During the last session 6 showcases for rehabilitation of social houses in Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza and other European cities benefitting from EU funding (H2020, LIFE, IEE) such as RESIDE, FRESH, iNSPiRe, REFAVIV, Newsolutions4OLDhousing were presented and discussed.

The event was moderated by Francisco González Montalvo, Technical Director of ENACE and expert representing Spain at the European Standardization Committee CEN, who in his conclusions highlighted the urgent need for normative stability through legislation and standardization.

Presentations are available online and free of charge at the multimedia section of the SuSoh project website www.susoh.eu.