The subsidy program for energy rehabilitation of homes financed by European Next Generation funds has not, for the moment, been as successful as expected. This may be due, in large part, to the fact that the offer of public aid has not been sufficiently promoted, to the deficient explanation of the administrative procedures that must be followed and to the traditional bureaucratic slowness of the public administration. The risk is that such European aid may be lost if it is not requested on time.
The fact that energy rehabilitation works must be co-financed by the homeowners is also another relevant factor in the lack of interest in them. But that is so because the benefits of energy saving and well-being that can be obtained have not been well explained. If the calculations are done correctly, it can be shown that it really pays to carry out rehabilitation. The investment that is carried out can begin to be amortized from the first moment thanks to the lower consumption of electricity or natural gas that is made.
EU aid for energy efficiency in homes does not arouse interest
The benefits of energy rehabilitation with passive elements are very broad. In addition to contributing to a change in the use of energy, reducing the consumption of those of fossil origin, they also cut electricity and gas bills at a time when they have skyrocketed. They also bring greater comfort, well-being and conditions for the good health of people, in addition to increasing the value of homes.
It would be necessary to analyze, however, if the subsidies that are granted from European funds are sufficient to encourage owners and neighboring communities to invest the part that would correspond to them. The Generalitat, in collaboration with professional associations, has created technical offices to inform owners and neighborhood communities, since, if things are done properly, subsidies can cover up to 80% of the cost of the works and families in a situation of economic vulnerability can receive 100% of the part that would correspond to them to pay. In addition, there are ten-year soft loans to pay the part not covered by community aid, which allows the monthly installments to be low.
It is important, in any case, that both the Generalitat and the professional associations make an effort to demonstrate the advantages of taking advantage of the aforementioned subsidies. There is no doubt that, one way or another, we must take advantage of the opportunity offered by the nearly five hundred million euros provided by European funds for the energy rehabilitation of homes. The European Union considers it strategic to reduce the energy cost of homes, both for the savings it provides to families and for the significant reduction in polluting emissions that can be achieved to help reduce global warming of the atmosphere.
In Catalonia, the challenge is enormous because the existing housing stock causes a great waste of energy. It must be taken into account that between 1.4 and 1.7 million Catalan homes have energy deficiencies. In the specific case of Barcelona, it has been calculated that 81% of the city’s buildings waste energy, since they would obtain an efficiency rating of E or lower.
With the investment of the nearly 500 million euros mentioned, through the various action programs, the energy efficiency of some 60,000 homes could be improved, in what should be only the first step in larger plans. The truth is that the files that have been submitted so far for the program for the common areas of residential buildings – which covers up to 25,000 homes – are only 10,000. As we have said, the management of said aid must be activated as much as possible. It would be absurd to give up the money that comes from Brussels and the laudable purpose for which it is used.