In response to tenant requests for social aid to heat their dwellings, thermal rehabilitation was undertaken to combat energy poverty among vulnerable tenants.
Five housing blocks consisting of 167 flats built prior 1977 had an energy performance classification F (214 kWh/m2 per year) prior the project. Heating became costly for the tenants who started requesting social aid from the City Hall to heat their homes during the winter. This resulted in a decision to renovate these buildings to combat energy poverty, improve energy efficiency and enhance the living standards of residents. The specific objectives of this project were thus to reduce expenditures for residential heating, thereby helping to reduce poverty and improving the spending power of deprived groups; reduce conventional fuel consumption; limit greenhouse gas emissions; and improve the outward appearance of the housing blocks.
These goals were achieved by consulting with tenants about the need for retrofitting due to the degraded standard of the buildings. The tenants agreed to pay 20% of the costs (through a monthly contribution to the homeowner’s association), while the local government contributed 20% and the remaining share was funded under the “Regional Operational Programme, Key Area of Intervention - 1.2”. The retrofit entailed energy efficiency measures such as reconstruction of exterior walls and building roofs with ETICS system of thermal insulation, the replacement of wooden windows and doors frames with new PVC frames, and new double- and triple-paned windows, which improved the energy performance to a C-class energy classification (74 kWh/m2 per year).
625,000 Euro (20% tenants, 20% local government and 60% European funds through ROP) was used to improve the energy performance from F-classification to C-classification and to improve the living standard in the apartments, contributing to energy efficiency improvements and combating energy poverty
Evidence of success
The renovation resulted in energy improvements from 214 kWh/m2 per year to 74 kWh/m2 per year. It also reduced the risk of energy poverty, as illustrated by the fact residents no longer requested social aid to cover their energy bills. The urban landscape was also improved, as the newly painted buildings enhance the surrounding environment.
Work interventions were halted due to the weather conditions on one occasion, there was problematic communication between the City Hall and the tenants for a period, and residents were bothered by the dust and sounds emitted by the constructions.
Potential for learning or transfer
A difficult challenge in Europe is to improve energy efficiency of buildings, combat energy poverty and improve the living standard in the apartments for vulnerable tenants without having a significant negative effect on the tenants’ expenses. Old buildings, like those in Giurgiu, often have a low energy performance standard and need to be refurbished with energy efficiency measures, especially to avoid energy poverty when tenants have difficulties to afford the heating. Using EU funds (through e.g. ROPs) to cover a majority of costs and fund the rest with contributions shared by tenants and local authorities after consulting the tenants to make sure they can afford it, illustrates how important measures like these can be financed and implemented. This is an excellent example that can be scaled and transferred to other places, particularly in similar contexts in order to combat energy poverty and improve energy efficiency in buildings by focusing on vulnerable tenants with a low income
Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.