Habitat for Humanity participated in the Energy Leaders’ Summit in Madrid

The Energy Leaders’ Summit was organized by our partner World Green Building Council (WGBC) within the framework of their awareness raising project Build Upon. The Summit became a kick-off event for a pan-European advocacy effort to foster the review of National Building Renovation Strategies of the EU member states. Among other energy leaders, the organizers welcomed key EU and national level decision-makers, construction material producers, and a number of NGOs. Habitat for Humanity was represented by Gyorgy Sumeghy, Besim Nebiu, and Mincho Benov.

There was a large consensus among the participants that a people-centered approach to building renovation is of key importance.  To discuss this issue in more detail Habitat for Humanity held a round table discussion on Awareness Raising in the Community, where our common project with USAID in Eastern Europe Residential Energy Efficiency for Low Income Households (REELIH) was presented to demonstrate how this approach might work in practice. To provide a broader perspective on the situation of home-owners and tenants in other parts of Europe we invited such experts as the International Union of Tenants, Metropolitan Research Institute, and Energy Action to contribute to the discussion.

The following conclusions were agreed upon by the end of the round table discussion:

  • Although homeowners are in general aware of the great potential of energy savings, they are more often attracted by prospects of “beautification” of buildings and the subsequent higher market value of apartments than by merely  technical energy reductions
  • It is crucial to involve and engage the end users (tenants and homeowners) at an early stage in the building renovation process. It is important to take into account what they want and empower them to make the whole process more democratic.
  • In order to engage tenants, homeowners and landlords it might be helpful to create easily understood propositions and business cases to explain them the benefits of renovation.
  • A trusted process needs to be created in order to keep the end users and landlords happy before, during and after the renovation.
  • Different parts of the building- and supplier industry must work together to make it easier for the consumer to get a well-functioning project and guarantees.
  • It is essential to showcase energy, health, comfort and well-being that renovation brings. Therefore, renovation ambassadors need to be present in every neighborhood to engage other tenants and homeowners.

You can see a video from the conference here.