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Agree project’s presentation to residents of Los Luises, Gaztelu and Zarategi streets

The Public Housing Business Entity of the Donostia City Council, Etxegintza, recently presented the Agree project to residents of Calle Los Luises, Gaztelu and part of Paseo Zarategi. The project, with funds from the EU 2020 Horizon Project, aims to encourage home remodelling to improve energy efficiency and accessibility.

The innovative project methodology proposes energy renovations and integrated accessibility solutions, aggregating the demand of similar buildings to improve performance.

In the case of Donostia, the project is targeting 70 buildings comprising 622 homes, 94% of which do not have a lift, where the average age of residents is high.

According to Rafael Farias, the buildings chosen are poorly insulated, are more than 50 years old and do not have lifts, although the average age of their inhabitants is high.

Another reason for choosing Los Luises, Gaztelu and Zarategi is the similarity of the blocks, which means that solutions can be replicated. For some variants, a single project can be drafted and adapted to the specific characteristics of each building. In most cases, these are four storey blocks without lifts.

Councillor Nekane Arzallus says that her department is aiming to act on existing properties: “Making existing homes more accessible and habitable is the best policy for us and that is what we will be doing over the coming years”.

The presentation took place in the plenary hall at the Town Council and was attended by development minister Nekane Arzallus, Etxegintza manager Rafael Farias Blanc, Maider Romay, an architect at the Department of Remodelling of Etxegintza and Xabier Aguirre who represented the team that drafted the draft Agm project.

The municipal officials found the meeting very satisfactory, and numerous residents of a variety of neighbourhoods showed interest, having attended to learn about the project for themselves and registering to be kept up-to-date on the progress made.

AGREE is made up of the Housing Department of the Basque Government, Tecnalia, Ihobe and the town councils of San Sebastián, Vitoria and Basauri, and its mission is to mobilise investment to improve the energy efficiency of private apartment blocks in the Basque Region.

Through innovative solutions for activation and aggregation of the demand, better governance and personalised financing solutions, it implements innovative solutions in three pilot projects, mobilising an investment of approximately €8.5 M and reducing Co2eq/year by 250 tonnes by 2022.

Etxegintza has submitted a draft project and, after securing the agreement of home owners’ association, it will assist, explain and analyse alternatives and quotes. It will then order and develop the technical projects, and grant and subsidy applications. “The cost differs greatly according to the efficiency level selected by the residents of the building, the idiosyncrasies of each block, and the subsidies to which each family is entitled”, said Farias.

“We give them a turnkey project, having studied the subsidies available and managing them with the Basque Government, Town Hall and the EU, however, the upgrades are paid for by the residents. In exchange, they will enjoy a better quality of life, have lower electricity bills and the work will increase the value of their properties.

Home owners’ association interested in benefiting from this European project can call 943 413 922 for more information about the results of these studies, the financial aid available and other important aspects.

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