In the spotlight: Zaragoza Vivienda

13 May 2016

Please, introduce yourself, the demo case and explain why you decided to be part of the BuildHeat project.

I’m PalomaBozman Lopez. I work in the Municipal Company of Housing in Zaragoza in the Refurbishment and Innovative Projects Area, specifically in European Projects related to improving quality of live trough actions related with homes.

We work on several actions: improving insulation, introducing renewal energy, training in using their energy efficient devices and habits. We work at different levels (dwelling, building, district) but always acting in the existing city.

The demo case of this project consists in a building with 53 social rented dwellings in Oliver district in the west part of the city. We were very interested in participating in BuildHeat project as a way of getting more experience in innovative refurbishment technologies.

Why it has been chosen that demo site? Is its multi-ethnic feature an added value to the project?

It’s been chosen due to several reasons: it’s a building that needs to be improved. Space heating and DHW is provided by means of electric resistances and is well orientated to the sun, potentially allowing for the effective use of solar technologies. The tenants have express problems to afford the energy consumption bills, and the multi ethnic feature is part of our reality so we considered very interesting to make them part of the process from the very beginning.

How have the inhabitants welcomed the initiative? There is harmony of purpose in this so varied community? They all agree and are ready to cooperate with the project?

They receive us well and all agree to cooperate. The main reason of this success is because we present the project with the social worker. In Zaragoza Vivienda, we have this social support from the beginning of the relationship of the tenant with the company, that means fluid communication between both sides.

They were quite surprised with the explanation of the project, the innovative concept of taking benefit of renewal energy for their installations and of course, concern about the economic impact that this action could have in their life as they have very limited resources. In this sense it was important to clarify that the project wouldn’t suppose more costs in the rent and how the BuildHeat solution will benefit them improving their comfort without increasing their bills. Some people showed suspicious when we were asking the history of their electrical bills, we have detected some illegal installations of electricity so we think this is a good opportunity to treat this aspect.

What is the main benefit for your demo site? Besides the economical and energetic benefits do you imagine also healthy issues?

The main benefit we expect is to reduce energy bills while increase the comfort in these dwellings. We realize that due to the economic situation some families can’t afford their heating systems or instead of using the existing one (electrical radiators) they end up using other like butane heater (with all the problems that this energy can cause: condensation, risk, etc) or they just deal with the cold and the heat. Energy poverty causes illness and unhealthy life, so offering good insulated homes with efficient heating, cooling an ventilation installations to this fragile population is a way of improving their quality of life and fight against energy poverty

Name a challenge you think you will run into during this project.

Engage the neighbour in the project is a challenge but also an opportunity to work with them since the beginning.

It’s important to make them understand how BuildHeat will help with their bills, how it will give tangible benefits to them.

We can also seize the opportunity to speak with them about other existent aspects related to living in multi dwelling buildings like common spaces, disturbing habits and coexistence, aspects that are important also in the renovation process.



Thermally efficient social housing for young adults

10 Jan 2017 - When young people move out of supported accommodation the leap to independent living can be tough. A new project in the north west of England is converting a former sheltered housing block for elderly people into managed accommodation for young adults, while also improving its thermal efficiencyYoung people can find themselves homeless or in housing need for many reasons. In the UK, once they are 16 years old they are often placed in managed rented accommodation. But these units – ... read more
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