2018 | May
As part of Greece’s compliance with European Union rules on energy saving and the reduction of emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere, a number of actions have been implemented. The energy upgrading of the building stock is a major concern. In order to facilitate investing in this purpose, a range of incentives are provided to property owners. The “Eksikonomisi Kat’ Oikon” program is one of these and consists of subsidy support. The first implementation was completed at the end of 2015, and the second round is actually starting. The effective use of resources is of great importance for the substantial reduction of the energy footprint of the building stock.
This paper explores the spatial, social and economic significance of the program through the analysis of available data on the involvement of beneficiaries, which have not been used before. Its impact on the energy upgrading of buildings in Metropolitan Athens – i.e. almost the entire Attica Region – is being identified and evaluated. Individual economic categories of beneficiaries, defined by the Program Guide, and their access to the program’s resources are assessed, as well as the distribution of resources and upgraded properties by regional unit in respect to needs inferred by the age of the housing stock in each unit. Finally, the distribution of resources to commercial activities and occupational categories is evaluated through the breakdown of resources invested in distinct program actions.
Data processing procedures highlight the problematic points of the process along with the essential needs for energy upgrading.
The intense urbanization in the post-war period, the pressure of the landowners, the special housing policy and the relaxed urban planning policy have resulted in the often fragmented and unequivocal constitution of the urban fabric in the metropolitan region (Μαντουβάλου, Μαυρίδου 1993). The result of the low requirements of building regulations, their lack or even their circumvention was – among other things – low building standards and high energy consumption (Σαρηγιάννης 1978).
In the process of upgrading the built-up stock, a series of actions are encouraged either concerning the shells of buildings or their mechanical installations. “Eksikonomisi Kat’ Oikon” is designed to finance part of the energy renovation cost of residential buildings in areas with an official cost price of up to € 2,100 per square meter. Its first implementation lasted from 2011 to 2015, and the second round of the program was launched in early 2018.
Follows an evaluation of the interest expressed by beneficiaries and of resources allocated by the program throughout the Region of Attica (Map 1). The evaluation reveals the imprint of the project, showing the residential areas that require upgrading, both at the level of Regional Units (RUs) and municipalities and, at the same time, the buildings that qualified according to the program’s criteria. In terms of the social effect of the program, we explore the distribution of income categories of beneficiaries within Metropolitan Athens. These categories are defined on the basis of individual or family income as stipulated in the program guide. Further exploration of the available data led to depicting the allocation of resources in terms of eligible expenditure, which are specific actions we refer to as “intervention”. Specific groups of professionals benefited from these interventions, stimulating the Greek market accordingly. Finally, this examination identified a number of problems in terms of the social and professional groups involved as well as in terms of the implementation in respect of the program’s objectives.
The profile of the property owners who benefited from the program, as well as their funding, are openly accessible data, posted by the National Entrepreneurship and Development Fund (ETEAN). The data presented subsequently resulted from the processing of raw and so far untreated information, which was categorized and analyzed for the needs of this presentation.
The allocation of resources per region and the social groups that gained access to the program’s funding per region are presented in maps and diagrams. In addition, the breakdown of funding by type of intervention/action makes it easier to understand what part of the market has been stimulated and to what extent.
Distribution of beneficiaries at Municipality and Regional Unit level in Attica
All beneficiaries were grouped together by municipality and their distribution is shown in map 2, while their percentage per Regional Unit is presented in graph 1. Beneficiaries, according to the income criteria set by the program, are divided into three categories of subsidy. The first (with the lowest income) absorbed 70% of the expenditure, the second one 35% and the third 15%.
Map 2: Distribution of the number of beneficiaries per municipality in the Region of Attica
Data source: ETEAN, author’s processing
The bulk of beneficiaries’ interest is concentrated in the inner part of the region – that is, in the Attica RUs , excluding Eestern and Western Attica – which accounts for 87% of the applications. This percentage, however, is less than the specific weight of the population in this part of the region, which is 93% according to the 2011 census (EKKE- ELSTAT 2015). Within this inner part of the region, 30% of beneficiaries are located in the Central Sector, which also falls short of its specific population weight (35.5%). On the contrary, the percentage of applications was higher than the population weight in the Northern and the Western Sectors; it was about equal in the South Sector and much less in Piraeus (9% of applications vs. 12.7% of the population) despite the large number of old age buildings the latter includes. The East Attica regional unit, an area with a much more recent residential development and less densely built, received a much higher percentage of applications compared to its population (8% vs. 5.4%). regarding the distribution of funds (Graph 1), the differences observed are in the same direction. Eastern Attica and Piraeus, for example, absorbed 10% and 9% respectively of the total funds of the program for Attica despite their very unequal population size (5.4% vs. 12.7%).
Graph 1: Beneficiaries and allocation of resources per Regional Unity (RU) in Attica
From the population census of 2011 of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), we use the data on the building stock in the Region of Attica (Table 1). The buildings that were constructed before 1980 -i.e. before the Thermal Insulation Regulation of Buildings (1979)- are, presumably, the most in need for energy upgrading. Following Table 1, the largest needs are concentrated in the Central Sector, where approximately 40% of the old buildings of the region are concentrated, and then in the Southern Sector and Piraeus, which comprise 25% of the relevant stock.
Therefore, the comparatively increased number of applications and provision of funds in the Eastern Attica RU may be considered a failure in relation to the initial goals of the program, as far as the fair socio-spatial distribution of the subsidies is concerned. Moreover, considering the findings of Maps 3 and 4, there is a clear discrepancy between the concentration of upgrading needs in central municipalities and the concentration of beneficiaries in more peripheral ones.
Map 3: Percentage of residence buildings constructed before 1980 in the municipalities of the Attica Region
Data source: EKKE-ELSTAT 2015
Map 4: Percentage of beneficiaries per number of residents in the municipalities of the Attica Region
Data source: ETEAN and EKKE-ELSTAT 2015
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