Spanish housing fails energy efficiency test


Spanish housing fails the energy efficiency test, with the majority of homes getting D & E grades in the new EU rating system.

The majority of Spanish homes fail the energy efficiency test that measures how well they use energy and avoid carbon emissions, according to a survey of owners, and analysis of 5,000 certificates by Alquiler Seguro, a rental agency that also provide energy certificates for landlords.

Though EU-wide energy certificates were introduced in June for all owners who whish to sell or rent their homes, they have been widely ignored so far outside Barcelona and Madrid.

The certifienergy efficiency on a scale from A (best) to E (worst), and typically cost a few hundred Euros from a certified professional based on an inspection.

55pc of homes received an E grade, followed by 29pc with a D. If you count D & E grades as a fail, then 84pc of Spanish homes fail the energy efficiency test. Just 0.16pc of homes got a B grade, and 0.49pc an A, so less than 1pc got an A or B.

This is not a big surprise. Many old homes in Spain are poorly insulated, whilst the quality of construction of new homes built during the boom was lacking, as you would expect in period driven by speculation. Luckily, the pleasant climate on the coast means that poor insulation isn’t perceived as a big problem. Noise is a different story.

Most of the owners surveyed see the energy certificate as first and foremost a way for the Government to raise money, even though it has been imposed by the EU. Few landlords see it as an advantage for attracting tenants, who care far more about rental prices and locations.

Survey respondents were also critical of the hassle involved in getting a certificate, with a different bureaucratic process in each of Spain’s seventeen autonomous regions.



6 thoughts on “Spanish housing fails energy efficiency test”

  1. Fred van Krimpen

    Dear Mark, in the article, you mention E as the worst, but actually it is the ‘G’. In my experience and after having a pile of Energy Efficiency Certificates issued by a trustworthy engineer, in newer properties, it is not so much the insolation, but mainly the emergent waterheaters and energy-unefficient A/C installations that bring the rating down to a G. The highest we have seen till now is a D. The statement that it was because developers tried to save money is correct, but the savings were on the installations, not on the actual construction.

    I do not agree with your quote: “whilst the quality of construction of new homes built during the boom was lacking”, because the developers had to comply with the newer building regulations. It is therefore that many properties build after 2009, do not need the certificate when the developer already had to deal with it whilst applying for the licenses.

  2. Profile photo of Mark Stücklin Post Author

    Fred, you are completely right – G is the worst grade, as is obvious from the graphic in the article – I wasn’t thinking. On the other question, I’ve seen a lot of new construction all over Spain from the boom years, the the quality is often not very good. Bad distributions, ugly designs, poor functionality, and shoddy finishing because everyone was building in a hurry, and hiring people with no experience. The paradox is it is much better to buy off plan now than in the boom.

    1. Blisco

      About uggly designs I am astonished to read it as everybody can agree from Norway to Italy and from Russia to France that in this field, in Spain you can always find better than in any other countries where arquitects are only taking in mind fonctionality in a anonimous cube. This you can find in effect in Spain too in the buildings made along the 50ies, 60ies and 70ies but since then arquitects in Spain have changed and many of them are internationally well known.

  3. Profile photo of Mark Stücklin Post Author

    Blisco, I guess it is a question of taste, and of course there is a lot of attractive architecture in Spain. However, in general I do not think the Spanish coast has been sympathetically developed. On the contrary, I think it has been badly over-developed, and a lot of the designs used in the boom were cookie-cutter, and to my mind unattractive. That’s one of the negative consequences of runaway booms.

  4. Burke

    I would agree with mark, along with all countries and markets that experienced a construction boom, the construction was below par for the reasons mentioned above. Energy efficiency is a quickly evolving market so even 5 years ago, standards and methods have changed meaning houses from plan today will perform better then those built since in 2007 the the law changed. I think the younger generation of home buyers are coming to the market more conscious of energy efficiency and savings, especially as the energy industry is making homeowners susceptible to absorbing price fluctuations through increased taxes, tariffs or other means due to changes in the energy industry such as solar. In the end, controlling your energy consumption is one of the few ways to better manage property finances. People looking for a long term investment, decreased energy bills compounded annually can provide a good chunk of change. Those looking at property as a rental investment (typically passing energy bills onto tenants), efficiency improvements then do not make much sense until other incentives are provided.

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