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14 September 2021

The C&R sector is preparing for the arrival of the Next Generation funds

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The HVAC and cooling industry could receive a good boost with the arrival in Spain of the Next Generation funds from the European Union, which will promote rehabilitation and improved energy efficiency projects in buildings and homes.

Guillermo J. Escobar, Professor with the School of Industrial Organisation (EOI), explained that “the distribution of the funds envisaged by the Spanish Government assigns around €4,900 million to various programs for the rehabilitation of buildings”. According to this expert, this is “an injection of money that, if it is well applied, could provide a good boost to developing the Strategy for Energy Rehabilitation in Buildings over the long-term”.

However, he added that “this money is not enough to meet the objectives, and we will have to continue to bring to the table more legal, technical and financial measures (a new RITE (Regulation on Thermal Installations in Buildings) that is being drafted, the white certification system, financing for low-income owners...), as well as backing R+D on plug & play systems and elements that will lower the price and facilitate rehabilitation projects”.

But, for the time being, what is the role of the HVAC and Cooling sector in this improvement in energy efficiency? In Escobar’s opinion, HVAC (heating, ventilation, cooling...) in buildings is a bit less than 50% of the energy consumption in Spain, 70% of which is covered with fossil fuels. “Therefore, the role of the heating and cooling sector is essential on the road to decarbonisation, because it is facing a challenge with two fundamental components: to improve the efficiency of its equipment and systems and, additionally, to modify the current technologies for generating heating and cooling, to maximise the use of renewable energy and of the new synthetic fuels that are being developed”.

New techniques and materials

Juan Fuertes, Professor with OBS Business School, considers that the Next Generation Funds are going to be “an essential help to adapt our infrastructures, acquire new materials that will allow us to increase efficiency and facilitate and encourage research”. He added that their application will focus on “the rehabilitation of buildings and installations (industrial and/or household) and improving the power distribution grids and construction”.

In his opinion, the HVAC and cooling industry has a large responsibility in achieving improved efficiency, and it should use the funds to acquire or, where applicable, research, artificial intelligence techniques, specifically IoT. “Its addition to internal processes and in professional jobs should greatly improve the situation”.

Major HVAC and cooling projects

According to Dario Garcia, XTB analyst, it is quite likely that many of the projects applying for European funds are in alignment with the renewable energy sector. “Therefore, we may see large projects that bring together solutions pertaining to HVAC and cooling”.