The first meeting of the project, held on September 5, 2019 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, began with the introduction of the partners (Basque Government, Ensanche XXI, Etxegintza, Bidebi, Ihobe and Tecnalia) and the heads of the European Commission agency EASME for this project: Stephan Renner (Officer) and David Tallon (Financial Officer). Mario Yoldi (Basque Government) then gave a summary of the project, after pointing out that most buildings in the Basque Country have a rating of D or lower in terms of energy efficiency and that the aim is to set up new funding models for people who do not currently have access to such funding.
Carlos López (Basque Government) and David Mardaras (Tecnalia) dealt with the first work package of the project, WP1, reiterating that the contractual framework of the project is the Grant Agreement between EASME and the partners and the Consortium Agreement between the partners. Among other things, this first work package includes the presentation of a report on the technical and financial progress of the project every 18 months and another financial report of an internal nature every 9 months. For her part, Patricia Molina (Tecnalia) outlined the objectives of the second work package, WP2, with the selection of pilot buildings in each municipality and the preparation of an evaluation manual, in which Tecnalia will provide a database and develop a methodology and the town planning companies (Bidebi, Ensanche XXI and Etxegintza) will contact the municipalities’ social action departments.
The objectives of the third work package, WP3, were broken down by Carlos López (Basque Government) into three main areas: protocols for governance, management and communication; financial formulas and organisational formulas for aggregating demand. Next, David Tallon (Financial Officer of AGREE) outlined a Financial Guide for avoiding errors, with recommendations on subcontracting, personnel expenses, eligible and recognised expenses and financial disclosure statements. The outline of the fourth work package, WP4, presented by Patricia Molina (Tecnalia), considered the design of an action plan for the third month of the project, and its implementation with the respective actions related to communication, tendering and supporting neighbours in applying for aid.
The representatives of Ihobe, Marimar Alonso and Yolanda Rodríguez stressed the importance of communication as a core element in this project and offered Ihobe’s knowledge and experience in European networking and project communication. Last on the agenda was coordination with the Euskadi Opengela/Hiros4all urban regeneration project (neighbourhood offices to support the redevelopment processes as a one-stop shop), in order to launch an economically viable building renovation model that can be scaled up to other municipalities and replicated in other communities and that will be developed in two pilot neighbourhoods that are rated as being very vulnerable: Txonta y Otxarkoaga. The meeting concluded with the planning for the next six months, highlighting the importance of the presentation event in the three municipalities.