After the end of a successful phase I, policy makers, stakeholders and different experts in the field of energy efficiency and Social Housing have met in Porto for sharing experiences and exchanging knowledge. Carbon Neutral Social Housing: Post 2020 Challenges and Opportunities took place in Casa da Música, an emblematic modern building where more than 150 people attended to an interesting debate about the trends and prospects of green social housing after 2020. The partnership has also shared the different Action Plans that are going to be developed in different European regions for a greener social housing.
The mid-term event of Social Green project was a great opportunity to discuss the new framework after 2020 for schemes in social housing, efficiency, environmental challenges and retrofitting; among others. Ryan Weber from Nordregio, the lead partner of Social Green project, highlighted the intersection between society and environment; and how Social Green is improving local and regional policies.
The approach of the project is based on the importance of retrofitting in Europe (only 1% of buildings are renovated each year in the EU); also the relevance of the territorial dimension, because the solutions can not be the same for the different regions. In addition, the concept of Social Housing depends on the area or country where it is applied; so in order to build a strong policy path for the future, the conference underlined the importance of increasing the investment, the need of innovating in policies and the adjustment of these policies in order to improve the implementation of them.
Also, Pedro Moia from CCDR-Norte, explained the reality of Norte Region in Portugal and wanted to stand out the importance of cooperation in projects like Social Green: “If regions are the bricks of Europe, cooperation is the mortar that makes them stay solid and together”.
After the presentations of the project, there was a brilliant panel of experts who debated about the challenges (Professor Vasco Freites from the University of Porto and Sorcha Edwards from Housing Europe) and the opportunities (Paula Rey from DG of Energy and Radoslaw Lipták from DG Regional and Urban Policy). The keynote lectures shed light on and suggested new policy developments which are looking at solutions.
The second session was taken place in Matosinhos, in the headquarters of the partner CEIIA, for discussing the implementation of the different Action Plans that are going to be developed in different regions of Europe: the municipality of Alba Iulia and Soth Muntenia region in Romania, Norte region in Portugal, the region of Extremadura in Spain, the city of Varaždin in Croatia and the country of Estonia.
The Action Plan in Extremadura developed by AGENEX works through three complementary objectives: the implementation of new projects, the changes in the management of policy instruments and the change in the strategic focus of the policy instrument. The actions that are going to be carried out, are focused on developing new projects to reach the current social housing demand; retrofitting existing social housing, in order to make them greener; the creation of a demand database of social housing demand in Extremadura and the integration of new financial instruments developed by Interreg Projects in the region. These actions will be implemented in 2019 and 2020.
Social Green (Regional Policies towards Greening the Social Housing Sector) is an EU-funded Interreg project that studies energy efficiency policies and possibilities in social housing sector in six partner countries (Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Estonia, Romania and Croatia).