UCI has become the first Spanish financial institution to receive the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) programme for the development of its Residential Energy Rehabilitation (RER) project over the next three years.

RER is a one-stop-shop system for multi-apartment buildings providing technical assistance to homeowners for energy efficiency improvements in Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Valencia and Seville.

Thanks to ELENA, UCI´s RER project aims to rehabilitate 3,720 homes and mobilize €46.5 million in eligible investments.

ELENA is a joint initiative led by the European Investment Bank and the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme offering technical assistance for energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable urban transport projects.

The European Commission, together with the European Investment Bank (EIB), have allocated €2.6 million from the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA, European Local Energy Assistance) programme to support the Residential Energy Rehabilitation (RER) project promoted by Unión de Créditos Inmobiliarios (UCI).

UCI is the first Spanish financial institution to benefit from this grant, allowing it to develop the RER programme. The RER project is a one-stop-shop targeting Homeowner Associations, which will provide technical assistance to homeowners, develop energy assessments, and provide financial support for grant applications and home renovations. Unión de Créditos Inmobiliarios, is an entity specialised in sustainable housing financing, alongside its Rehabilitation channel Creditos.com.

The RER programme aims to refurbish at least 3,720 homes in Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Valencia and Seville, to reduce household energy consumption on average by 50%.

Roberto Colomer, CEO of UCI: "We are proud to expand our partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to continue developing our sustainable financing strategy and contribute to decarbonizing our country's real estate stock". And he adds that: "These grants represent a great boost for the development of our sustainable financing, which already accounts for more than 7% of our production"

EIB Vice President, Ricardo Mourinho Félix said: “Improving energy efficiency in urban areas is playing an increasingly important role in fighting climate change, as cities continue to expand. We are pleased that this agreement with UCI will enable the renovation of over 3,000 dwellings in cities across Spain, helping to reduce energy consumption, while bringing substantial energy savings to Spanish households. The EIB - the EU climate bank, is proud to be able to contribute to reducing energy consumption via the ELENA programme in Spain.”

Economic Advisor at the European Commission Representation in Madrid, Paz Guzmán said: “ELENA is a highly effective instrument to deploy investments which reduce energy consumption and make buildings more sustainable accompanied by dedicated technical assistance. This is good news for the end-user, but it is also good news in the decarbonisation of the energy system and fight against climate change, as we seek to lower greenhouse gas emissions across the EU. It also contributes to reducing EU dependence on energy imports and to ensure security of supply”

In addition, the RER project aims to mobilize investments of €46.5 million until 2024 for multi-apartment building energy efficiency improvements and the use of renewable energy sources in these buildings.

The energy efficiency projects will be selected based on the results of energy audits. The expected energy efficiency projects include the modernization of existing residential buildings, including envelope insulation and improvements (walls, roofs, and floor), window replacements and glazing upgrades, heating, cooling and ventilation upgrades, interior lighting and installation of renewable energy solutions, such as photovoltaic panels.

In general terms, UCI´s experts estimate that the project will lead to energy savings of up to 8.1 GWh, which represents a reduction of 50%, of the initial consumption and to the reduction of up to 1,765 tons of CO2 per year. In addition, this project will allow the creation of around 220 new jobs. The support provided by the ELENA facility in the past 13 years sums up to around € 236m grants allocated and disbursed by the EIB to 136 projects.

Thanks to this grant programme, the European Union will stimulate investments in energy efficiency, especially in buildings and in district heating networks, public lighting and clean urban transport. The ELENA Facility is managed by the EIB on behalf of the European Commission.

The 3 envelopes covered by ELENA (sustainable energy, sustainable residential and urban transport and mobility) can be chosen by both public and private entities to implement ambitious investment programmes not only at a local level but also at regional and national level.

The RER plan was presented officially on the morning of the event, on 30th June, in Madrid. During the act, Luca Bertalot, general secretary of the European Mortgage Federation and the European Council of Guaranteed Bonds (EMF-ECBC), pointed out that “if we speak of the decarbonization objectives, the future of Europe is at risk”, and there are also repressed the need to “build ecosystems and plans that work for all European homeowners in any city, from Cartagena to Helsinki”.

For his part, Javier Martín Ramiro, general director of Housing and Land (MITMA), has recalled that “this is the first time in a process of the European Commission, together with private collaboration, the main beneficiary is the most disadvantaged families and that suffer energy poverty”.

The day included a debate table to analyze 'The mechanisms of technical-financial collaboration in the rehabilitation of communities'. At the same time, María José Piccio-Marchetti, general director of Housing and Refurbishment at the Comunidad de Madrid, intervened; Alberto Rubio, director general of Quality, Refurbishment and Energy Efficiency at the Valencian Government; María Vargas, head of the Public Sector Service in Spain at the EIB; Celia Galera, CEO of Habitat Futura, and Javier Torremocha, director of the UCI Reform and Rehabilitation channel.

During this debate, the experts agreed on the need for energy rehabilitation to be tackled as an integral part of the process. For his part, Javier Torremocha has also insisted on the need to convince the owner of living spaces about the benefits of energy rehabilitation: “it would take 308 years to achieve the goals of decarbonization only with the new living space, which is why it is necessary to bet for the rehabilitation and convincing the owners that it is not complicated to carry out the work and they can cost very little thanks to the help and the financing”.

About UCI

UCI (Unión de Créditos Inmobiliarios) is a Financial Institution with 30 years of experience, with offices in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Brazil (hand in hand with Grupo Provincia) that has more than 600 employees, more than 10,000 million outstanding balance and more than 350,000 customers. Its objective is to satisfy the demand for housing through responsible, transparent and personalized financing solutions. UCI facilitates access to housing and contributes to the renewal of the housing stock to achieve more sustainable cities through its mortgage loans and reforms for individuals and communities. Since 2015, through the Prado program in Spain, UCI has issued more than €3,8 billion in top quality RMBS securitization bonds.