23 May 2018

The human factor in saving energy

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Throughout Europe buildings are still responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions. More renovation of the existing stock is needed. This is where citizens come into play

From 21 to 25  May the EU Green Week is exploring ways to accelerate sustainable urban transformation. European homeowners remain resistant to welcome efficiency measures, mainly because of financial barriers such as capital availability and information barriers such as uncertainties about contractor reliability.

A case study comes from Spain, where more than 40% of housing was built in the 1960s. In the Cuatro de Marzo district, Valladolid, homeowners are testing smart control systems to curb energy use in their apartments - equipped with sensors and monitoring systems – after having undertaken renovation works.

They cofinanced the interventions and received the support of the Municipality and the EU, under the project R2Cities, which has developed strategies to make the access to refurbishment methods easier for homeowners. The energy-efficient measures have focused on façade and roof insulation, windows substitution, boilers upgrading and solar thermal panels installation.

Rubén García, head of smart city projects in Cartif, the technology centre that is analysing the energy-efficiency data, says: “The main lesson we got from this project is that citizens need to be involved, we must work with them, explain all the interventions in detail, make them feel that they are part of the process and, of course, of the solution.”

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