"One in ten homes in Spain is affected by energy poverty. Getafe is launching this innovative project to identify energy vulnerability through an intelligent advanced analysis tool. Through a transversal public service, unique in Europe, we will provide personalised solutions adapted to the needs of citizens, improving their quality of life and thermal comfort, as well as enhancing sustainability".
Sara Hernández, Getafe Mayor.
Getafe's main challenge is to identify and reduce hidden energy poverty, which is estimated to affect around 15-30% of households (55,677 inhabitants of Getafe), a circumstance aggravated by the salary situation of the municipality, with an average income of 5,071€ less than the rest of the Community of Madrid.
Despite these figures, the number of families applying for public subsidies is less than 2,000, which justifies why many households are currently unable to cover their heating and cooling needs or to meet their energy bills. The reality of this municipality is accentuated in the Las Margaritas and La Alhóndiga neighbourhoods due to their socio-economic circumstances:
- Most of its urbanised land was built in the 1960s and 1980s with low standards of quality and energy efficiency.
- Approximately 48% of the dwellings have no heating system.
- The households are inhabited by groups of people at risk of social exclusion: migrants, elderly and unemployed people.
In EPIU Getafe. Hogares Saludables, we go a step further in re-defining the term 'energy vulnerability', considering affected households as all those who cannot maintain a comfortable temperature, either because they cannot meet their energy bills or their domestic needs, or because they are forced to spend too much of their income for this purpose.
At EPIU Getafe Hogares Saludables for the well-being of citizens, we use a revolutionary approach to identify, assess, reduce and prevent cases of hidden energy poverty, through a system of data analysis and tailor-made solutions implemented by a multidisciplinary team. The pioneering character of EPIU lies in five points:
- Moving from action to prevention. The data recorded by the EPIU system identifies, which households are energy vulnerable, allowing early action to replace the traditional reactive approach to the problem with a predictive and preventive approach.
- Beyond monetary poverty, acting at three scales. In EPIU we consider that vulnerable households are not only those with financial problems but all those which have difficulties to maintain a comfortable temperature according to their needs. To this end, we will apply the integrated analysis system in houses, buildings and neighbourhoods.
- Cross-cutting care through the local authority. In EPIU we consider necessary to offer a cross-cutting approach that incorporates, among others, social workers, who bring a human vision to the problem.
- Incorporate actions against heat and cold. The consortium does not only address the behaviour of the building in the face of low temperatures, as it has been doing, but we also consider the problems caused by high temperatures (increased in recent years due to climate change and heat waves).
- Committed to healthy homes. EPIU's proposal goes one step further in the fight to achieve sustainable housing, committed to raising social awareness about living in environmentally friendly buildings, not only to improve the quality of life, health or savings, but also to respond to the climate crisis.
EPIU Getafe. Hogares Saludables is one of the twenty projects awarded by the European Commission's Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) programme, in its fourth call (2019), co-financed with European Regional Development Funds (ERDF), which seeks to respond in an innovative way to increasingly complex urban challenges, with the aim of strengthening socio-economic cohesion within the European Union and correcting imbalances between its regions.
The UIA programme thus offers urban authorities the opportunity to experiment and introduce more innovative and creative solutions in their respective cities.