Efficient insulation and smart refurbishment can reduce households’ energy consumption –and costs –, improve people’s thermal comfort and foster sustainability. This is what the GrowSmarter project has worked on achieving together with the Barcelona City Council, the Housing Agency of Catalonia, the energy services company Naturgy– and 50 families of Barcelona’s Canyelles neighbourhood.
In the framework of the Housing and Renovation Forum of Barcelona, a series of public visits to successful innovative urban initiatives developed in Barcelona were organized by the City Council on March 22nd. The tour included a technical visit of the GrowSmarter solutions in Canyelles, implemented between the second half of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.
The technical team leading the visit explained how the project achieved its goal of generating social, economic and environmental benefits through the refurbishment of a residential building [read the factsheet on the refurbishment of
residential buildings here].
With micro-grants funded by the GrowSmarter project and the Barcelona City Council –covering up to 80% of the cost of the activities–, the 50 primarily lower middle to low-income families that participated in the project installed more efficient windows and blinds in their homes. At the same time, boilers were replaced to reduce gas consumption, efficient water taps –aerators– were installed, and home energy management systems were deployed. The participation of the community of the building in the GrowSmarter project also meant that the insulation of the façade and the roof was increased and upgraded according to the current minimum requirements by the Spanish Building Technical Code. All measures taken within the initiative reliedon a participatory process involving all relevant stakeholders: the families, the City Council and the GrowSmarter coordination team.
As a result, the community living in the building has reduced its gas and electricity consumption by approximately 31% –saving money for tenants and contributing to their economic empowerment–, which also implies a saving in CO2 emissions. In addition to this, the initiative has succeeded in raising energy efficiency awareness among the families of the community, which are now able to better control their energy use through the home energy management systems. Finally, this solution means a better quality of life for the families in terms of thermal comfort and sound isolation, exemplifying how structural interventions can improve life in cities from both a behavioural and material perspectives.
Contributing authors: Ana Alcantud, Consulting Director at anteverti, Sergio García, Communications Coordinator at anteverti, and Alba Soler, Consultant at anteverti