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Renovation’s critical role in Spain’s building, now is the moment

By Anna Dukhno
March 14, 2019

Knauf Insulation’s General Manager for Iberia is calling for ambitious renovation targets to be kept at the heart of national policy as Spain enjoys a construction boom and new laws are drawn up to improve building energy efficiency.

Spain is experiencing an exciting new era of building energy efficiency following a major slump a decade ago. In 2018 new home purchases were up 11.3% and the construction sector is now expected to grow by over 6% this year and next, according to European Architectural Report, ArchVision.

Meanwhile, policymakers are working on proposals for a new Law on Climate Change and Energy that aims to reduce emissions in Spain by 20% by 2030 — compared to 1990 — with better insulated buildings set to play an important role in reducing Spain’s energy consumption by 35%.

Our new plant will support building energy efficiency

Our General Manager for Iberia, Oscar Del Rio said: “Spain will be a major beneficiary when our new €110 million Mineral Wool plant in Illange, France, comes online this year and we are looking forward to playing a transformational role in this exciting new chapter of Spanish building history.

“However, although the outlook for construction is positive and the government is calling for better insulated buildings, it is vital that renovation is kept at the centre of all political, social and economic agendas. In Spain there are 25 million homes, 58% of which were built without any thermal requirements and 68% without any acoustic considerations.

More ambition needed to meet EU and global climate objectives

“In addition, the draft Law on Climate Change and Energy states that only 100,000 properties need to be renovated annually. This is insufficient. To comply with Europe’s energy and climate commitments more than 250,000 buildings must be rehabilitated every year. Spain must show more ambition.”

According to data from the Ministry of Development, building renovation and urban regeneration only accounted for around 25,000 buildings between 2013 and 2017.

Benefits of building renovation go beyond energy efficiency

Building renovation not only contributes to improved energy efficiency and lower emissions but also provides a healthier environment for building users with a future impact that is long-lasting and sustainable, Mr Del Rio said.

The General Manager also stressed the importance of the Climate Change proposal’s Transition Strategy which calls for a renovation plan to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings using ‘sustainable’ materials. Our Glass Mineral Wool insulation is manufactured with up to 80% recycled glass.

Buildings account for 80% of EU energy for heating or cooling

Building energy efficiency, renovation and the power of insulation has been a significant part of Oscar Del Rio’s life for many years. He is now the president of the AFELMA, the Iberian Mineral Wool Manufacturers Association, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary.

“Heating and cooling represents 50% of the European Union’s annual energy consumption and 80% of that is consumed by buildings. That is why AFELMA has always campaigned to raise awareness of the importance of building energy efficiency,” he said.

“It is vital that we continue promoting this awareness because energy efficiency has a global impact — on the planet, health, climate change and energy bills.”