The Los Limoneros housing complex, in one of Malaga's most deprived neighbourhoods, has recently undergone a complete energy refurbishment programme.
This was not the first attempt to improve the energy efficiency of the complex, but previous efforts had failed to properly engage residents, and had therefore run into problems. The area is known for its high unemployment, low incomes, crime, drugs and illegal activity.
This time around, however, the city involved residents fully from the outset and the results were very different. The city council assigned a dedicated staff member for the project, and held regular meetings with residents to keep them informed of developments.
The city set up two groups: one made up of energy efficiency experts, engineeers and architects to identify potential improvements; and the other made up of residents. Council staff provided a link between the two groups, and any solutions developed in the expert group were then discussed at the residents' group.
As a result, the building has been fitted with a solar thermal and cogeneration heating system for sanitary water, new insulation and new ventilation. Residents have been invited to workshops to learn about the new heating system and find out how to maintain it.
The project was part of a wider campaign that included smart metering and a graffiti scheme to engage young people in energy efficiency measures.
The project won the 2014 EUROCITIES award for participation, and upon accepting the award, Sandra Marín Herbert, from Malaga City Council, described the project as "a miracle" thanks to its ability to engage people so effectively.
You can read more about the project in our cities in action case study, available at the link below.