Understand + | Rehabilitate now for lasting well-being, by Lluís Comerón

Climate crisis, increasing inequalities, a fourth industrial-digital revolution in progress, territorial imbalances & mldr; In moments of profound changes, like the one we currently live in, we all seek refuge in our homes. At home we hope to find the comfort and security that seems to fracture in the reality that surrounds us. However, the confinement caused by the covid-19 pandemic revealed the shortcomings of what is the oldest building stock in Europe, with more than 10 million homes in need of rehabilitation.

We are often not aware that almost everything around us is artificial, It is the result of human action and technological development that for generations will building an environment that favors our lives. But in moments of deep transformation, such as the current ones, we realize that the spaces we inhabit were thought by past generations who lived a certain reality and had needs and desires very different from ours and, as a consequence, what should make us feel Safe and comfortable, responding to our demands to live better, in fact, it makes life difficult for us.

In our country, 70% of the houses were built before the entry into force, in 1979, of the first European directive on energy efficiency. More than 80% of existing buildings have E, F or G ratings, which not only makes them huge wasters of energy, responsible for almost 40% of greenhouse gases, Rather, if the drafts of the new European Directive on energy efficiency become a reality, as of 2030, sales will not be possible with them without their energy renewal.

Certainly, the renovation of our homes so that they are more efficient will lead to economic savings and energy consumption. But the main objective of our homes is not only to consume less. Since we abandoned the nomadic life and changed the caves to build huts and form the first settlements, the reason for being of the houses is to help us to live better. Therefore, it would be nonsense, even recognized in the long-term Building Energy Rehabilitation Strategy (ERESEE) itself, to undertake the transformation of buildings and homes that will make possible European funds Next Generation without taking into account other great shortcomings of our built park.

We cannot forget that almost two million people with reduced mobility currently They cannot leave their homes without help. A situation that, considering the demographic pyramid, will worsen with an increasingly aging population: some studies indicate that, in 2050, the percentage of inhabitants over 65 will increase by almost 43%, reaching 15 million people and , of them, 13.1% will have moderate mobility limitations and 21.3%, severe limitations.

Rehabilitation to make our homes more accessible is urgent. But it is also necessary adapt our homes to current ways of life, work and leisure, with more functional spaces that provide us with well-being. And all this, with strategies and public policies aimed at responding to one of the greatest problems of our society -access to decent housing-, expanding the affordable rental stock.

The “Wave of renewal” of buildings and homes that will enable Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan charged to European aid offers us a unique opportunity to update our park built with a comprehensive look that puts the updating and improvement of its benefits for the well-being of people at the center of the actions, aware of the multiple benefits that rehabilitation implies to live better, as reflected in the ‘Citizen Guide to promote rehabilitation’ . A publication edited by the CSCAE 2030 Observatory with which we want to help our country’s households to make decisions, based on technical knowledge of its implications for lasting well-being. Because what is the use of minimizing the energy consumption of our home, if it does not have a distribution adapted to our needs or the adequate accesses to leave and enter when we need it? What good is an A or B energy rating, if it does not meet the necessary habitability conditions?

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The volume of resources that is going to be mobilized to transform our homes is historic and, surely, unrepeatable. Therefore, to optimize the planned interventions, avoid wasting resources that we cannot afford and establish efficient and sustained rehabilitation procedures for our residential park at a good pace between now and 2050, a comprehensive vision is required, counting on the reference professionals who best know the needs and the potential for improvement of each home and building, establishing efficient and affordable action programs for every family.

Now the conditions exist to undertake the transformation and improvement of our homes; so that they gain in comfort, health, safety, efficiency and well-being in the long term, and the Next Generation funds offer the possibility to do it, in addition, in an affordable way. We must seize the moment: rehabilitate now for lasting well-being, aware that our homes have a long life cycle, that we must be able to enjoy them at very different moments in our lives and that, also for this reason, they must be able to respond to the needs of several generations.


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