A local collaborative model for funding the retrofit of a social housing complex to improve energy efficiency and quality of life for residents
The objectives of the thermal rehabilitation of K17 block in Calarasi were to increase the quality of life for residents, support local green businesses and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions without imposing a significant financial burden on residents.
The project consists of 60 two- and three- bedroom dwellings. Each dwelling retrofit was co-financed by the local and state governments (30% and 10.8 % respectively), funding from the European Regional Development Fund (49.2%), as well as a no-interest loan to the residents’ association from the local government, to be paid back over five years (10%). The joint funding plan helped minimize the renovation costs incurred directly by residents. This minimized the direct financial impact of the renovations, and allowed the residents to finance the project through cost savings from improved energy efficiency.
Local contractors were used for the retrofitting process and a training scheme was established to fill knowledge gaps about energy efficient construction processes. This meant that the project was implemented in a cost-effective manner, supported the local economy and strengthened the local green economy by developing local knowledge about green building.
Other notable features of the project were the emphasis on improved quality of life for residents. This included reduced maintenance costs as well as increased comfort, both in terms of ambient temperature and low noise pollution.
Total costs: 190,000€ for 60 units, which equates to 3,166€ per dwelling. This covered the cost for thermal rehabilitation such as thermal insulation for exterior walls, as well as the replacement of existing windows and exterior doors with improved thermal performance.
Evidence of success
By engaging local contractors, the project supported the local economy. The project succeeded in improving energy efficiency in the buildings from approximately 160 kWh/m2 to200 kWh/m2. The innovative financing systems, where the tenant’s share of costs was covered through a 5-year loan paid back through energy cost savings meant that residents, who pay 150€ a month to live in the buildings, did not face significant financial burdens or the need to move as a result of increased rents.
Potential for learning or transfer
Undertaking renovations to improve building resource efficiency without placing a direct cost on the low-income residents is widely transferable. In this case, very low income residents were not forced to relocate as a result of increased rents to finance the renovation. The innovative financing mechanism, where the tenant’s share of costs is paid back as a result of energy savings is an approach that could be used in many settings across Europe
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