Making Andalusia’s construction sector more sustainable

The building sector in Andalusia, Spain, is receiving a significant boost thanks to an initiative which aims to introduce energy saving measures and improve the take-up of renewables. The Sustainable Construction Programme in Andalusia (PICSA) has also set about improving the competitiveness of local construction companies while reducing energy poverty for low income families.

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Introducing energy saving measures through the PICSA programme. ©Agencia Andaluza de la Energía Introducing energy saving measures through the PICSA programme. ©Agencia Andaluza de la Energía

" In addition to contributing to energy efficiency in Andalusian homes and revitalising the role of the construction sector in our region, the Programme represents one more step towards achieving a low carbon economy in Andalusia and a more sustainable and environmentally respectful construction model, in line with the EU’s objectives. "

Natalia González Hereza, Managing Director of the Andalusian Energy Agency

PICSA’s incentive scheme provides an opportunity to introduce energy saving measures and products to existing buildings. Its objective here is to transform the most energy inefficient buildings to the point where they can offer savings on energy use of more than 70 %. This part of the programme is being delivered with the help of more than 7 600 partner companies, most of whom are SMEs.

PICSA also offers funding support to local construction companies in the form of grant aid and by helping them access EU financing. The aim is to revitalise the construction sector, which has endured a massive downturn in recent years. A funding pot of more than EUR 50 million has been made available, with businesses able to bid for a maximum EUR 2 million each.

Establishing an expert network

The programme has created a ‘Sustainable Construction Roundtable’, which brings together more than 70 experts from different disciplines. They work together and pool their knowledge about key industry issues including its competitiveness, supply and demand, renewable energy, innovation, employment and legislation.

Its incentive scheme is estimated to have reached 60 000 local people across 600 neighbourhood communities, as well as 2 500 companies. Vulnerable groups have benefited greatly, with around 23 % of incentives being used to improve housing quality for more than 7 000 low income families.

A lasting impact

The work done to improve energy efficiency in buildings has led to an estimated reduction in CO2 production of 62 000 tonnes and energy savings of about 26 000 toe/year. These savings are equivalent to the energy consumed by 1.7 million light bulbs or 100 million washing machine cycles. Around 14 000 jobs have been created thanks to actions undertaken through the programme, with more than 55 % of the companies involved stating that they have taken on new staff.

Moving forward, measures contained in the development plan are expected to generate as many as 80 000 new jobs over the next five years. To help make this happen, EUR 529 million of extra funding has been allocated until 2020.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “PICSA” is EUR 220 000 000, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 132 800 000 from the Operational Programme “Andalucía” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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