By Laura Kemp • 29 September 2021 • 14:01
First energy company in Spain that is managed by residents. Image - Ayuntamiento de Barcelona
The block of flats, which is located between Calle Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes and Calle Viladomat, Calle Diputacio and Calle Calabria in the Eixample district of Barcelona, will become the first energy company in Spain to be owned by various neighbourhood communities.
This project, which is called ‘Illa Eficient’ (Efficient Island), brings together both the energy renovation of buildings and the installation of solar panels for self-consumption, as well as the management of surplus energy.
The works cover a total of 22 buildings, 390 homes and more than 700 residents, as reported by the promoters of the project in a statement.
The initiative is promoted by the private group Habitat Futura and the Generalitat de Catalunya, with the collaboration of the Barcelona City Council.
Two university centres are also involved in the project. The Polytechnic University of Catalonia will be in charge of calculating energy savings and analysing the possibilities of scaling the project. The Ramon Llull University will collaborate in the spreading of awareness of the need to act on climate change.
Unlike other projects, the ‘Illa Eficient’ initiative is characterised by making homeowners’ investments more comfortable. One of the main handicaps in the rehabilitation of buildings and the installation of solar panels is that the owners have to fund the costs. In this case, the Habitat Futura group is in charge of the initial financing of the works, while the owners only take care of the subsidised part.
This means the owners can pay for the works with comfortable instalments over a period of 10 years.
The CEO of Habitat Futura, Celia Galley, said: “The company takes care of all the management, including economic and financial, so that the owners are freed from the headaches that a reform can present them.”
The investment in the first phase, consisting of eight buildings, is €3.8 million, of which €540,000 have already been paid by private owners.
The three main objectives of the ‘Illa Eficient’ project are to reduce energy consumption by 30 per cent and promote self-consumption of solar energy. To comply with them, the four priority measures consist of renewing the insulation, changing the windows, aerothermal systems and installing solar panels.
According to Galera, the ‘Illa Eficient’ model is “easily reproducible in other urban areas.”
“At the same time, it solves the immediate needs of users and achieves the objectives of reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions.”
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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