Energy renovation of a low income neighbourhood in the wider Athens area, Greece, with involvement of unemployed inhabitants, recruited and trained as installers and maintainers for their building
The Hellenic Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Climate Change launched an innovative renovation programme for the residential sector, the ‘Green Neighbourhoods Programme’. The programme addresses to Municipalities of the Region of Attiki (wider area of Athens) that are interested to renovate Social Housing building blocks in their authority area. It foresees national funding (from the Operational Programme ‘Environment and Sustainable Development’) for the renovation of low income neighbourhoods and the development of sustainable areas of ‘nearly zero energy’. In the frame of the Programme, a demonstration project, ‘the Green Neighbourhood Pilot Project’ is under development, for a selected Neighbourhood - a building block - in the Municipality of Agia Varvara. The selection of the specific building block was made following an official process of a call for Tenders for the interested Municipalities. The project concerns the renovation of four (4) multi-family buildings, consisting of four (4) floors each, with sixteen apartments in each buildings. The buildings were constructed in 1964. During that period and up to 1980, no Thermal Insulation Regulation was in force. Therefore, the buildings were built with no thermal protection and up to date no renovation works have been implemented.
The Green Neighbourhood pilot project concerns the upgrading of building envelope and electromechanical installations, as well as the integration of Renewable Energy Technologies, for the improvement of the energy performance and the maximum possible cover of energy needs by renewable energy. Smart metering will also be installed for the control and monitoring of performance.
The objective of the REQUEST pilot project is to follow the renovation procedure using the Quality Process Diagram and the best fitting Modular Scheme (tool developed under WP3 and WP4) and test the integration of the tools in the renovation process. The tools will be adopted to the Greek pilot project procedures and modified appropriately to improve the effectiveness.
The Greek ‘Green Neighbourhood’ Pilot Project aims to promote the implementation of EPC recommendations to low income housing, increase awareness on the benefits of energy renovation and on the importance of quality standards. The pilot project is realised within the frame of the national ‘Green Neighbourhoods Programme’ which concerns the energy refurbishment of a low income building block. The initial phase of the project concerns the refurbishment of one of the four buildings –the REQUEST pilot project- in which the implementation of energy saving measures in the building envelope is foreseen.
Activities undertaken so far:
- An initial local event for the residents to get them informed on the project concept, the actions planned, the benefits and to achieve consensus
- Building energy audit, measurements of microclimate conditions and EPC issuing
- Project plan development with refurbishment actions and priorities based on the EPC recommendations
- The renovation process of the REQUEST pilot project is completed (thermal insulation, shading and replacement of the existing windows with double glazed aluminum frame windows)
- The project was sponsored by industries and commercial companies of the Greek market. Sponsors were selected, after a Call for Sponsorship.
- A local event for the residents, to inform them about the process and results, discuss their experience from the renovation process, evaluate the degree of satisfaction and Investigate possible interested residents to get professionally involved as technicians in the project, after being trained and recruited by the contractor/s.
Outcomes of the pilot project and key lessons learnt:
- The EPC is the basic tool for the evaluation of the building energy performance and refurbishment actions and piorities are based on the EPC recommendations
- Continuous monitoring of the progress and the quality implementation of technologies are essential prerequisites for the success of the project
- Consensus on behalf of home owners can be achieved only through effective communication and continuous presence (door-to-door to explain the benefits, fill in questionnaires, investigate degree of satisfaction, identify main complain issues)
- Active involvement of the residents in the renovation project. Residents are very keen to participate if they are given the possibility to get professionally involved as staff of the contracting companies
- Development of communication channels with the trades companies to cope with low construction and renovation rates is proven crucial for the replicability of the project.
- Substantial collaboration between the funding body and the beneficiary is of highest importance for an effective and successful completion of the project.
After the completion of the REQUEST pilot project (building 1), CRES will continue to provide services to the Municipality, as Technical Manager, for the completion of the whole ‘Green Neighbourhood’ project, which includes the energy refurbishment of the other 3 buildings, the installation of RES and the installation of smart metering for the control and monitoring of energy performance.