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Aggregation and improved Governance for untapping Residential Energy Efficiency potential in the Basque Country

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AGREE (Aggregation and improved Governance for untapping Residential Energy Efficiency potential in the Basque Country)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-02-28

Energy retrofitting of post-World War II private multifamily residential buildings has been identified as a great challenge across Europe. Lack of adequate investment schemes, misalignment between residents' needs and grants and loans' design, complex governance and management, and fragmented demand are hindering the great energy saving potential captured in this sector. These barriers are even more stressed in Southern Europe, where energy savings are not perceived as a priority due to itsthe moderate climate and longer return periods in energy efficiency investments.
To tackle these complex challenges, AGREE aims at triggering investments in energy efficient retrofitting of private multifamily residential building estates through the development and deployment of innovative and replicable mechanisms for:
1) Demand activation and aggregation: based on an integrated approach to retrofitting that includes energy efficiency and other drivers such as improved habitability and accessibility, and benefitting from cost-effective energy retrofitting by aggregation of demand of similar building types, built at the same time and inhabited by similar populations.
2) Specific financing solution based on demand segmentation and tailored combination of grants and loans through the activation of a specific Retrofitting Fund led by the Basque Government in concertation with the private finance community, to reach traditionally excluded populations and unlock energy retrofitting in multi-ownership buildings.
3) Improved governance, ensuring residents, finance community and other relevant stakeholders' engagement along the process, as well as multilevel coordination to ensure effective policy design and implementation.
Led by the Basque Government, the AGREE consortium and relevant stakeholders will co-design and implement an innovative and replicable Deployment Package to retrofit multifamily building estates dating from 1940-80 in 3 pilot cases located in the Basque Country’s three municipalities Basauri, Donostia and Vitoria-Gasteiz, mobilizing an investment of about 8.5M€
In accordance with the project’s timeline, during this first Reporting Period two main objectives have been achieved: 1) the characterization and replicable integrated diagnosis of building estates for the 3 Pilot projects in Donostia-San Sebastián, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Basauri, including energy performance and social profile of the residents through a systematize methodology that allows for prioritization and more tailored interventions to the target building group typology and its residents profile, and 2) the design a Deployment Package tailored to these building estates typology, including financial mechanisms, improved policies and governance protocols, ensuring stakeholder engagement and multilevel coordination to achieve a successful implementation
For the first one, the characterization and replicable integrated diagnosis of building estates, a methodology has been developed for municipalities and for other relevant stakeholders for the diagnosis and prioritization of homogeneous groups of residential estates to address their renovation based on an analysis of their needs and their opportunity.
The AGREE methodology for prioritization includes indicators such as accessibility, buildings’ state of conservation, energy efficiency of the buildings’ envelope, energy efficiency of the facilities, resident’s population’s age and income level. This data provides a comparative information within the municipality which leads to a prioritization of the most needed areas for retrofitting according to the state of the building and to economic and demographic profile.
The methodology includes a more detailed study and diagnosis based on data gathered from public data sources and how to collect it in a common and replicable database so it can also be visualized with GIS. This data provides relevant information to the municipality about the needs and priorities of intervention. Moreover, it allows to establish a segmentation of the demand to include them into the improvement of the rehabilitation processes and in the design of the financial formulas. Three segments have been identified in this guide: Age of the building, income level and age of the resident population.
This methodology has been applied to prioritize and select the buildings to be retrofitted in the frame of AGREE project in the municipalities of Donostia-San Sebastián, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Basauri located in the Basque Country. The selected building of the 3 pilot cases account for more than 3000 dwellings. Once the areas for the pilot cases were selected, a detailed diagnosis of each selected residential set was developed in order to determine the main needs and priorities of intervention.
The diagnosis required the involvement of the resident population and face-to-face meetings were planed which due to the state of alarm imposed in March 2020 in Spain as a result of Covid-19 were not able to be held. This was partially solved providing a temporary telephone service to support other forms of communication carried out. This service provided information to the residents while allowing to collect relevant information about their needs, priorities and barriers to perform the renovation of their homes.
An Action Plan has been created by each Housing and Urban Redevelopment Agency (SUR) involved in the AGREE project to establish a strategy in each pilot case that structures the process and the participation of the different agents, establishing their role in each phase, especially that of the residents.
For the second objective, the design of a Deployment Package a multi-stakeholder co-creation approach was applied. Several workshops were carried out with different stakeholders to discuss and clarify the challenges and opportunities for the promotion of energy retrofitting and to learn from identified good practices.
Based on these findings a proposal for the three key elements conformed the Deployment Package:
1) governance, communication and management protocols.
2) financial formulas based on segmentation of demand as well as economic incentives for demand aggregation.
3) demand aggregation: for which innovative legal formulas for demand aggregation, decision-making mechanisms and community management are searched.
During this period:
1) the AGREE Academy Plan has been designed. The implementation of this plan in the second period of the project will allow to extend the benefits of the project through its replication, from the local to the European level.
2) it has also been done a big effort to disseminate and communicate the project promoting the project in different media and social media.
The work performed in the first reporting period has allowed to set a methodology to make a prioritization of the buildings to be retrofitted in the framework of the AGREE project.
The expected result until the end of the project is the deployment of the Action Plan for each of the 3 pilot cases, resulting in the request for funds for retrofitting by residents and concession notice by Basque Government, to retrofit at least 510 dwellings through an investment of about 8.5 million € and a total Primary Energy savings of 26,16 GWh/year within its duration (per year).
Another purpose of the project is to multiply the impact of the project and the promotion of the replication processes, the AGREE Academy, based on peer-to-peer working.
AGREE's project follow-up meeting.
Workshop on challenges and opportunities on current policies, governance and management protocols.
Meeting with neighbours in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Conference on good practices in Energy retrofitting.