Energy Efficiency : Why Involving Residents in Housing Renovation Schemes is Essential

Segolene Pruvot

By Segolene Pruvot, on March 12th, 2013

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The URBACT CASH ( Cities Action for Sustainable Housing) project was focussing on sustainable renovation of social and affordable housing. During the course of the project one of the main elements of success for any regeneration scheme identified was the involvement of citizens, as well as the involvement of the larger region.

Here, representatives of two cities of the project Echirolles in France and Sonderborg in Denmark give their point of view on how to ensure success of Energy Efficient renovation schemes.


Echirolles, France

Alain Fayen, Head of Property and Legal Department, Société Dauphinoise pour l’Habitat SDH (Social landlord)

Alain FayenThe success of a social housing Energy Efficient (EE) renovation operation is fundamental since it requires major investments and, often, important public financing. The success of the operation is conditioned by the adhesion of tenants and necessitates a process of tenants’ participation before-during and after the renovation.  Furthermore, it is essential to involve inhabitants in the choices affecting the future of their home. However, with respect to the choice of the EE renovation type and systems, this is made difficult since social landlords are restricted in the nature of the work by the funders. Tenants should be involved wherever there is a space / some flexibility accorded to the social landlords by the fi nancing entities, as well as, regarding the management of the equipment and the performance monitoring.

Carole Simard, Deputy Mayor of Echirolles

Carole simardElected officers, who are responsible for the City’s budget and orientations in the Energy Efficient renovation process, are in favor of citizens’ involvement at the earliest possible stage. In Echirolles’ Village 2 District, elected officers and social landlords worked upstream in the process with tenants, tenants being at the heart of the operation.
This continuous work with the inhabitant is key, as is the consideration of the inhabitant time scale different from the ones of elected officers or of social landlords, tenants expecting changes in the short term. Despite this participative approach, the constraints linked to the funding sources inhibit the move towards a co-conception of the EE renovation.


Sonderborg, Project Zero, Denmark

Christian Eriksen, Project Zero Coordinator

christian eriksen

To the question “What is the importance of the involvement of the region in a strategic energy planning?” we can answer that the difficulty in starting a strategic energy plan is the economic aspect. More than 1 Million Euros is needed to start the project.

The region can help obtaining this starting fund and remove the political barriers. The region’s involvement also help providing a common vision to the different stakeholders – from pubic organizations and citizens to industry partners.

Do you want to know more on Energy Efficiency (EE) renovation tools?

The partner cities of the project have prepared a short guide ‘Cities Advice for Sustainable Housing’.  It does not describe the latest technologies available for Energy Efficient renovation, but rather covers all the other often overlooked aspects, which are critical for fighting fuel poverty, such as Energy Efficient renovation allowing the low income tenants to stay and low income owners to invest, cost reduction and optimization of the work through the association of stakeholders during the critical phases of the process creating synergies, building efficiency secured through the appropriate behavior resulting from empowerment.

The guide has mostly been designed for cities and gives, for each topic, the state-of-the-art, key issues – in particular barriers, gaps and solutions – and provides a set of successful examples from partners cities and it presents CASH project’s recommendations in the form of a declaration or resolution to industry partners.

Ségolène Pruvot, on the basis of CASH Newsletter, with the authorisation of Sophie Moreau, coordinator of CASH, Echirolles.

2 Responses to “Energy Efficiency : Why Involving Residents in Housing Renovation Schemes is Essential”

  1. Emanuel says:

    That is a really good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.

    Short but very precise info… Many thanks for sharing this one.

    A must read post!

  2. […] original en inglés, publicado en el blog de URBACT por Ségolène Pruvot, basado en el CASH Newsletter, con la autorización de Sophie Moreau, […]

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