Spain needs to increase its current rate of annual housing renovation by five, to an average of 120,000 renovations per year, to ensure that its buildings have zero emissions by 2050. Only in this way will it be able to fulfill its commitment against the climate emergency, acquired with the EU , and will manage to reach up to 10 million refurbishments of main dwellings in the next three decades, as stated in the Long-term Strategy for Energy Refurbishment in the Building Sector in Spain (ERESSE).
On the occasion of World Energy Efficiency Day —which is celebrated tomorrow, March 5—, the general director of the Green Building Council Spain (GBCe), Dolores Huerta, has highlighted that efficiency, both in the use of energy and in that of natural resources, is the first of the measures to achieve the decarbonization objectives. "It is not about substituting one energy source for another or one material for another, but rather using resources intelligently to reduce demand," Huerta argued.
To meet this challenge, the general director of GBCe has ensured that the energy rehabilitation of the building stock is presented as one of the most effective tools to reduce its energy consumption and its emission of greenhouse gases. "The importance of this objective is enormous, since the building sector in Spain causes 30.1% of final energy consumption and 25.1% of emissions", recalled Huerta, who clarified that this percentage it rises to 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in Europe as a whole.
Aged building park
"The Spanish building stock is old, it is inefficient and it does not respond to the habitability needs of the 21st century," Huerta argues. The data is illuminating: the first regulation that required the inclusion of thermal insulation in facades was not published until 1979 and 50.8% of the 16.6 million main dwellings in Spain were built before 1980. Likewise, 43.9% of the houses were built between 1980 and 2007, the year in which the Technical Building Code (CTE) came into force.
In this context, the reality is that a high percentage of the current Spanish housing stock is in need of rehabilitation, both to restore or improve the overall quality of the building and to improve its energy performance. Specifically, the ERESSE quantifies this need in 7.1 million buildings in Spain that store the highest levels of energy.
"An annual investment of 7,500 million euros per year is necessary, which represents 0.6% of GDP, in order to maintain the rate of renovations that Spain needs until 2050", explained the general director of GBCe and member of the Group of Work on Rehabilitation (GTR). Currently, the Plan for the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience of the Spanish Economy includes an "Urban and rural Agenda, fight against depopulation and development of agriculture" that contains a "Housing rehabilitation and urban regeneration plan".
In the opinion of the director of International Relations of GBCe and coordinator of the AÚNA Dialogue Forum, Emilio Miguel Mitre, and as explained in the Roadmap of the Building Life project, "the investment necessary to achieve the pace of renovations and the levels of energy efficiency required by the EU for 2050 will not be able to be covered with public subsidies, which makes a fluid dialogue between the private and public sectors essential in terms of financing building renovations”.
"This challenge of building efficiency must be seen as an opportunity in many ways," Huerta defended, recalling that rehabilitation can generate an average of 100,000 jobs per year, as quantified by the GTR.