The Naturgy Foundation has helped 1,745 vulnerable families through its Energy Rehabilitation Solidarity Fund which was created two years ago to improve the energy efficiency of homes and the quality of life of those most in need.
The resources allocated to this social programme that aims to combat energy poverty have now reached 4.3 million euros and have been used to make improvements related to rehabilitation, equipment and energy efficiency in homes in Andalusia, Aragon, Castile-La Mancha, Castile and León, Catalonia, Galicia, La Rioja, the Community of Madrid, Murcia, Navarre and the Valencian Community.
María Eugenia Coronado, managing director of the Naturgy Foundation, explained that “at least two thirds of vulnerable families in Spain live in buildings that are over 25 years old, when energy efficiency regulations did not yet exist for construction.” “This situation prevents thousands of families from keeping their homes at a suitable temperature, making energy rehabilitation work essential, which is why the Naturgy Foundation is highly focused on this programme,” stated Coronado.
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.
The European Union is also committed to energy rehabilitation as one of the main measures used to tackle energy poverty and it also contributes to achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal, explained Catharina Sikow, director of the European Commission’s Internal Energy Market at the book launch of ‘Energy Poverty in Europe: a comparative analysis’, published by the Naturgy Foundation. The countries analysed in this study agree on the need to address energy poverty by improving energy efficiency and rehabilitating homes.
The various kinds of actions that have been implemented can be broken down as follows: repair or replacement of boilers and other heating, hot water and electricity systems (38%); replacement of bulbs with LED technology (29%); replacement of woodwork and windows, and insulation of walls and roofs (20%); and the installation of efficient electrical appliances (13%).
Essential 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.
To date, actions have been managed by Cáritas, Cruz Roja, Foment de l’Habitatge Social, Hàbitat 3, Fundación para la Caridad de la Construcción, Fundación Mambré, Fundación Tengo Hogar, Accem ONG, Fundació Roure, CEAR, Fundación Isadora Duncan, Fundación Trilema, Fundación La Vinya, Asociación proyecto Confianza, Fundación Domus Misericordiae Sant Josep, Fundación Casa de María Reina de la Paz and Fundación Gil Gayarre.
“Collaboration with the Naturgy Foundation is essential to improving the energy performance of the homes that we manage,” explained Xavier Mauri, managing director of Fundación Hàbitat 3. “The actions that have been carried out have reduced families’ utility bills and have improved thermal comfort, helping us fulfil the right to adequate, affordable housing for people in the most precarious situations,” Mauri continued.
“With the invaluable help of the Naturgy Foundation, we have been able to perform timely refurbishment work in 40 homes in the fishing neighbourhood of Barceloneta in Barcelona,” stated Ana Conill, promoter at Asociación Casa de María Reina de la Paz. “This help has meant that deprived people in the neighbourhood have opened their homes to us and we have been able to see their real needs, the hidden energy poverty that really exists,” explained Conill, who emphasised that “only by getting close to people could we discover and resolve it, by carrying out small actions such as replacing scorched kitchens or heaters that were a high fire risk.”
Energy Rehabilitation Solidarity Fund
The origin of this initiative lies in the “Express Rehabilitation 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.
Resources from the Energy Rehabilitation Solidarity Fund are used to perform this type of express rehabilitation that can be carried out without the family having to move out of their home.