More than a thousand vulnerable families have benefited to date from the Naturgy Foundation’s Energy Rehabilitation Solidarity Fund. This initiative was launched to improve rehabilitation, equipment and energy efficiency in the homes of vulnerable individuals. The power company’s foundation has spent 2.3 million on this activity to address the causes of energy poverty.
This solidarity fund is one of the main social initiatives developed by the foundation under the Naturgy Energy Vulnerability Plan, and is in line with recommendations from the 2019-2024 National Strategy to Tackle Energy Poverty. In this roadmap, the Government of Spain defines energy-related property rehabilitations as one of the short-, medium- and long-term lines of action to address this problem structurally.
According to a study recently published by the Foundation and prepared by the IEB Foundation-University of Barcelona Energy Sustainability Chair, vulnerable families live in buildings 25 years old or more, therefore built before current regulations which provide for mandatory energy efficiency measures.
María Eugencia Coronado, General Director of the Naturgy Foundation, says that “household energy adaptation is one of the key measures for reducing energy vulnerability, and that is why we have made a strong commitment to working in this line”. According to Coronado, “achieving such a significant milestone as one thousand homes rehabilitated would not have been possible without working as a network with around 20 social organisations, as they allow us to reach the families that need it most”.
Repairing or replacing boilers and other heating and hot water systems accounted for 25% of all actions. Around 20% went to replacing woodwork and windows, and to insulating roofing and walls. Installing efficient electrical appliances accounted for 11% of interventions. Other actions include changing to LED lighting, improvements in electrical and gas installations, replacing blinds or installing awnings.
Collaboration with Tertiary Sector entities
To implement this project, the Naturgy Foundation collaborates with Tertiary Sector entities, which offer access to vulnerable families and can conduct the energy audits necessary to define the actions to be carried out.
It currently collaborates with Cáritas, Cruz Roja, Foment de l’Habitatge Social, Hábitat 3, Fundación para la Caridad de la Construcción, Fundación Mambré, Fundación Tengo Hogar, Accem ONG, Fundació Roure, CEAR, Fundación Isadora Duncan or Fundación Trilema, among others.
Rosalía Portela, Deputy Director of the Diocesan Housing Service and Charity Building Foundation at Cáritas Madrid, says that “what we aim for is that families, more than a roof, have a home and, above all, a warm home. Collaboration with the Naturgy Foundation allows us to undertake minor refurbishments on windows that do not close properly, doors that let in the cold, replacing old lights… And beyond home improvements, this collaboration also allows us to speak with families and address training on responsible consumption and energy efficiency with them.”
Sergio Rodríguez, Director of Fundació Foment de l’Habitatge Social, Sergio Rodríguez, agrees with Portela that “it is important to carry out these works because a home is not just a place to live; it has to be comfortable. And to this goal of comfort we add energy saving, with the subsequent reduction in costs, which allows families to reduce the part of their income spent on utilities."
Rodríguez explains that “for us, who manage over 400 homes in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, the Naturgy Foundation’s contribution means we can improve homes which, otherwise, we could not." “Achieving resources through its Solidarity Fund is more efficient as the Naturgy Foundation doubles any donation, and this means we can double our financial capacity for these actions,” he says.
Energy Rehabilitation Solidarity Fund
The origin of this initiative lies in the “Express Renovation for Vulnerable Homes. Low-cost Solutions” study published by the Naturgy Foundation, which includes 77 low-cost solutions to make homes more energy efficient. Of all the actions included, replacing woodwork and windows, and insulating walls and roofing are the most efficient. A correct combination of the measures proposed in this study can mean a saving of between €300 and €650 on heating per year, and can practically eliminate days on which homes are at less than 10ºC.
Solidarity Fund resources are spent on these express rehabilitations, which can be carried out without the families leaving the home; on actions on equipment, both repairs and replacements; and on adapting installations to basic standards to guarantee that energy supplies comply with safety regulations.
The Energy Rehabilitation Solidarity Fund will accept voluntary donations from any member of the public (www.fundacionnaturgy.org). Through its Foundation, the power company matches the amount generously donated by individuals and companies to the Solidarity Fund.