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On the 8th June 2023 ACER Parma presented the COOLTORISE project at the Barcelona Social Housing Festival

During the conference “Social Housing: Public companies actor and engine of development of social housing policies” which was held at the Escola Industrial, the activities carried out during the first year and a half of the project were illustrated, sharing the difficulties and opportunities that emerged.

The meeting was an opportunity to make the COOLTORISE project known to other realities working on social housing in other countries.

COOLTORISE is a three-year project funded by the European Union with the aim of improving living conditions and reducing consumption for more than 3000 households during the hottest months of the year. It revolves around the important concept of summer energy poverty, which has only recently entered the political agenda of countries on our continent.

But why did Acer Parma (Agenzia Casa Emilia Romagna) decide to join to represent Italy, along with Spain, Bulgaria and Greece?

Because this is a particularly sensitive issue, where low income, high utility bills and still energy inefficient homes coexist. All factors that lead to situations of energy poverty, when people live in contexts where high temperatures can easily be reached and cannot afford to pay for air conditioning systems. So this project is fully in line with our institutional mission: to create virtuous examples of energy communities in the Parma area. And the main target of these activities are the inhabitants of Public Residential Buildings.

But how did we develop the project? In two stages. First of all by investing in training ‘summer energy poverty agents’ who will work with the most energy vulnerable households. To do this, we selected and trained ‘volunteer operators’, identified in the condominium ‘heads of house’, by having them follow an course online in modality “on on-demand ” of 36 hours. With the course, we wanted to enhance the skills of the 55 ‘householders’ so that they could play the important role of ‘facilitators’ in understanding and managing summer energy poverty within their buildings, in which a total of 650 tenants live, becoming real trainers within the condominium (SEPA).

Training continues to this day with weekly field workshops, with the participation of ATES (Territorial Agency for Energy and Sustainability), creating a deep sense of belonging and social and solidarity awareness.

In the second phase we will work in four buildings, in cooperation with the Municipality of Parma, to create as many socialising areas in common outdoor spaces. The project envisages the redevelopment of outdoor areas, in which benches, gazebos and light and water points will be installed, all framed by the surrounding greenery that is already present and cared for. The choice was made after consulting and meeting the tenants, shared with them, and based on the consideration that in addition to technical help, interventions are needed to facilitate mediation, socialisation and a sense of community.

In conclusion, through this project we aim to contribute to increasing the participation of tenants in social life, in the management of energy expenses and in the use of information material, to carry out an activity of involvement and awareness-raising towards the most vulnerable citizens on the fundamental issues of energy transition.

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