Athens Niroo Community is a project initiated through the “Curing the Limbo” program by Co-Athens and supported by the Municipality of Athens.
Athens Niroo Community aims to form an original and sustainable energy community through educational workshops and pilot activities for the utilization of renewable energy sources.
Energy poverty is extremely widespread in Greece, affecting up to 58% of households. This becomes even more pronounced in vulnerable social groups, like refugees and migrants. From heating and cooling to daily access to the internet, access to electricity is essential in modern societies. Specifically for refugees and migrants who are already facing multiple barriers (bureaucratic, cultural, economic etc.), energy poverty can be one more important obstacle to integration. In Electra Energy Cooperative we share the common belief that clean energy should be a common good accessible to all. This is why through our work we encourage the active participation of citizens of all backgrounds in energy production.
Athens Niroo Community aims to form a sustainable energy community through educational workshops and pilot activities for the utilization of renewable energy sources. We will engage with citizens of Athens and refugees to collaboratively map how they envision this democratic participation, tailored to their needs. We will strive to collaborate with local authorities, like the Municipality of Athens, as well as various grassroots and civil society groups across four neighborhoods (Metaxourgio, Kolonos, Academy of Plato and Keramikos).
 Papada, L. and Kaliampakos, D. (2016) ‘Measuring energy poverty in Greece’, Energy Policy. Elsevier, 94, pp. 157–165. doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2016.04.004.
Familiarization and networking activities with the local community.
Raising awareness events on clean energy communities open to the general public and three (3) collaborative energy community creation workshops.
Two (2) capacity building workshops of DIY solar panel creation and Two (2) installation activities of the constructed solar panels somewhere in our neighborhoods of intervention. These workshops will be accompanied by field trip activities to the Polytechnic University of Athens for further hands-on familiarization with renewable energy technologies.
Our goal is to create a close-knit community involving refugees and citizens of Athens who will actively contribute to clean energy production. We will have a strategic and business plan ready for an energy community, and if we manage to secure funding we will set the energy community into operation. Ideally, we would like to use this opportunity to transfer the message of energy democracy to people all over Athens, who in turn will become agents of change.
Energy poverty in Athens
(by Athens Social Atlas)
Characteristics of the building stock and infrastructure networks
The majority of the buildings in the Municipality of Athens are apartment buildings that have been constructed during the first post-war decades, through the system of antiparohi (i.e. a land-for-flats barter system). Their construction features , as well as the fact that only a small part has been adequately maintained since their construction, has led to forming a decaying building stock with serious functional problems – especially concerning energy efficiency. The majority of apartment buildings have a central heating system, without individual choice concerning the amount of heating and the timing. In terms of energy resources, the main parameter is the natural gas network in the neighborhood. Where this network is not available, central heating systems have to use heating oil.
Regular dwellings without insulation
Mapping the Census 2011 data produced by the Greek Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), we see that the percentage of buildings having no insulation at all is rather high all over the Municipality of Athens. In the historical centre, as well as in the districts of Agios Pavlos, Attiki square, Kipseli and Patisia, there are enclaves where more than 80% of dwellings do not have any insulation. In peripheral areas of the Municipality (like Sepolia, Ano Patisia, Ano Kipseli, Poligono) and in small enclaves in the city centre (e.g. the areas around Lycabettus hill) residences lacking insulation are fewer; a fact related to the higher rate of buildings constructed after 1979 –when insulation became obligatory for new buildings (Official Gazette 362D΄/1979).
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