Opengela is exporting! The Opengela home renovation service has grown in influence not only in the rest of the Basque Country, with new “district offices” in other municipalities, but also in different European countries via its replication programme that started in September 2021.
Illustration : Opengela Replication Workshop by FEDARENE
During the Opengela Replication Workshop that took place on September 27th, 2022. Participants could exchange with project partners and representatives of cities and regions who came to Bilbao in the frame of the Opengela replication programme.
This programme aims to present and explain how the Basque government and its partners have implemented the Opengela One-Stop-Shop. Opengela not only tackles building energy renovation but also urban regeneration, with specific attention given to vulnerable citizens. On Thursday 31st of March and Friday 1st of April 2022, seven municipalities and regions visited Bilbao and Eibar to see the pilot office running in the Otxarkoaga and Txonta neighbourhoods, respectively. Six months later, these replicators came to Brussels to share their takeaways from the Opengela model.
In the Replication workshop, all participants could thus hear from the replication cities and regions. What their experience was like, what aspects of Opengela most inspired them, and what the future held for their areas.
Paddy Phelan (South East Energy Agency), Nina Jurinic (Medjimurje Energy Agency), Daniel Muniz Dominguez (Housing of the Principality of Asturias), Maria Karagianni (Major Development Agency Thessaloniki), David McCourt (Co-operative Housing Ireland) on video, and Ewa Szulc (Mazovia Energy Agency) went on stage to share their organisation’s feedback.
In addition, all could exchange with each other during the 3 breakout sessions animated by Opengela partners. In the 1st session, Ibon Irazola, Debegesa and Txari Vallejo, VVMM Bilbao gave exclusive insights on how the 2 offices work, the relationship developed with the citizens directly impacted by the renovation, and also with other people from the neighbourhood.
In the 2nd session, Ignacio de la Puerta Rueda, Basque Government, could discuss how to involve other stakeholders, primarily financial entities to slowly move from public funding, but also ensure life-long learning opportunities for the staff to make sure that the advice given is in line with the latest legal requirement and the evolution of technologies, and thus provide to homeowners experienced workers that will guarantee the quality of the renovation and keep the trust relationship established.
In the 3rd session, Dominique Bourges, FEDARENE and Jose Ramon Lopez, Basque Energy Agency helped the groups go beyond purely energy efficiency issues, including questions about accessibility and safety, adding cultural spaces and new businesses in the neighbourhoods, as well as mobility.
The afternoon concluded thanks to Seamus Hoyne, Tipperary Energy Agency, who reminded everyone that the best way to convince others to change is to start by ourselves. And for those who were convinced to start similar OSS systems, they remembered the presentation of Martin Eibl, from CINEA, the existing financial opportunities available are probably the first place to look at.
Opengela: People-centric Urban Regeneration in the Basque Country, Ignacio de la Puerta Rueda, Basque Government.
How LIFE helps you with the renovation of buildings in your area, Martin Eibl, CINEA.