Sestao, Spain

A project within Eu-GUGLE.


Sestao is a municipality located at 11 km from Bilbao city, on the left bank of the River, with an strong postindustrial character, on whose sides much of the municipalities of Biscay were developed. It has an area of 3.5 Km2, where only 0.9 Km2 are devoted to residential use and the rest is devoted for industrial use. Its development was mainly due to the 19th century industrial boom. The district is on the lower area of Sestao and it´s the most affected by the deindustrialization process.

The district and the building stock

The district has been very punished by the deindustrialization process that started in 1995. Nowadays the unemployment rate is about 30% several points higher than the rest of the city, compared to other municipalities, the rate of unemployment of this district is about 10% higher. There is a mixture of local and immigrant population with limited economic resources and a very low academic level.

The buildings are in an urban area particularly degraded. It´s an area composed of dwellings groups built mostly at the beginning of the 20th century in Sestao downtown, near to a industrial zone, with the objective to host and give a residential possibility to the Altos Hornos (Blast Furner) workers. But, in fact they were built on wood and long back fund structure, resulting in poorly ventilated interior rooms, and without natural light distributions.

The building stock consists of residential buildings, most of the buildings have private owners, but there are a few public buildings. Most of them with a bad conservated wooden structure and about 80-100 years old.

Main challenges

The current economic situation, particularly acute in Sestao as it is one that holds the highest unemployment rate in the area. The majority of buildings on which we act are private property and requiring refurbishment is complete so it poses for each neighbor a major financial effort (even with support).

Impact in the area

Since most buildings in the demonstration are privately owned, refurbishment energy efficiency measures will not have a significant impact on rent. However these energy efficiency measures will equip a higher valuation to homes in terms of their market price.

The refurbishment carried out is also leading to a change in the type of ownership of housing, in a context of public-private partnership. To carry out rehabilitation work it has been necessary for the public administration to assume ownership of some homes, and once they are renovated these homes will be sold or leased to private parties with public protection criteria of housing. This does not just mean a change in ownership of dwellings but also a renewal and rejuvenation of the population living in the district. The allocation of housing to public protection criteria not only guarantees the arrival of new families, but also the possibility that elderly people and people with mobility problems, can get secured housing in the area to which they belong.

Finally, the refurbishment of the buildings with energy efficiency measures will suppose savings on energy bills for residents on restored buildings. We will not have comparative bills, because actually there aren’t heating and hot water systems installed in most of the buildings. Where savings do excist, they are regarding energy consumption to maintain in newly constructed buildings with heating and hot water.

Financing model

The special social, technical, and economic situation makes it impossible to be owners who refurbish without help their properties. The society public SESTAO BERRI 2010, S.A., with a no repayable subsidy provided by Basque Government and municipality of Sestao buys the homes of those owners who are unable or unwilling to refurbish and subsidizes almost 50% the cost of rehabilitation to those owners who participate. The works are financed with the sale of homes once refurbished.

The work will begin the last term of 2013 and last through 2018

Read more here: Sestao, Spainexternal link, opens in new window.

Updated: 2016-05-25

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