- Five entities from Croatia, Spain and Romania have been selected to bring the Opengela model to their respective regions.
The Replication call launched last October by FEDARENE, the European Federation of Energy and Environment Agencies and Regions, has resulted in the selection of five European regional and local authorities out of nine candidates one in Romania, two in Croatia and two in Spain, to export the Opengela model to their territories. Each of them is either already engaged in housing renovation projects in its territory, or is planning to do so in the near future.
The initiative will give the selected authorities access to the keys of the Opengela model, which is being developed in two pilot neighbourhoods in the Basque Country: in Txonta (Eibar) and Otxarkoaga (Bilbao). To this end, they will visit the two neighbourhoods on 31 March and 1 April 2022 to learn about their experience and to be able to transfer this model to their own projects, creating a network of ‘Opengelas’ throughout Europe.
First, the municipality of Sighetu Marmatiei, in Romania, is currently immersed in a project that aims to improve the accessibility of the municipality and the living conditions of the population in some areas, introducing a new rainwater drainage network and another sewerage network, among other initiatives. Sighetu Marmatiei municipality is joined by two regions in Croatia.
The first one is Medjimurje County, which comprises three cities and 22 smaller-scale municipalities. It is represented by the regional energy agency MENEA which acts as an advisory centre for energy and climate issues and is currently in the process of expanding its services, aiming to integrate a home renovation service in a collaborative way and ensuring financial sustainability.
The second one covers the counties of Varazdin, Koprivnica-Krizevci and Virovitica-Podravina, represented by the regional energy agency North, REA North, which has already started to provide consultations and technical guidance related to home renovation. However, they are looking for ideas to address the financial side and questions on how to establish an innovative citizen-driven one-stop-shop model at local/regional level.
The last two selected regions are in Spain, one is the Extremadura region and the other is Lleida municipality. In Extremadura, the energy agency AGENEX, which has already participated in European projects such as INNOVATE or HousEEnvest, is looking for ideas and experiences to address social housing from a perspective in which homeowners are involved, in addition to the search for sustainable financial tools.
Lleida, for its part, is committed to designing and implementing a one-stop-shop renovation office to improve the energy performance of the building stock, within a year. To this end, they want to develop instruments to overcome the main barriers such as lack of knowledge, lack of interest or financing, in order to accelerate the energy transition of their city.