The green areas are not a lawn full of flowers

Rufino Hernández, director of the European Congress on Energy Efficiency and Sustainability EESAP12-CICAS, prefers to speak of waves in the plural instead of focusing on the challenges posed by the wave of rehabilitation in which we are currently. With the money that will come from the European Next Generation, many things will be done, but then there will be an impasse and a new wave will come, because "each generation is different and wants different things." Now we set the goal of climate neutrality for cities for 2050 but as the years go by, new goals will be set, even before that date.

Although it is not the exclusive objective of Europe, its main goal is to achieve a quality life for its citizens. The framework is the SDGs assumed in the Green Deal and “the building framework is the new European Bauhaus that entails a review of the entire way of building under criteria that unites the process of industrialization of society with artistic criteria and quality of life of the citizens. It is about reproducing the experience that was carried out in interwar Germany according to the criteria of the 21st century ”: Beautiful / Sustainable / Together.

Rufino Hernández thinks that at this time, one of the ways to address rehabilitation is through public awareness. We are not efficient when it comes to using the means we have at hand. The closest example occurred in the months of confinement when the decrease in pollutants was enormous compared to the decrease in economic activity. We misuse the home and there are subsidized and ongoing rehabilitation projects in which the users of these homes resist having their home digitally monitored because they fear being spied on. The data is collected so that the users themselves can have control over inefficiencies in the way they operate.

Data collection is essential because "we cannot aspire to have a climate-neutral continent without the energy efficiency provided by the data."

We use the house badly, Rufino Hernández repeated. “The climatic ranges in which we are comfortable in our home (21-26 degrees) can be achieved by expending as little energy as possible. If we are comfortable at 21 degrees in winter, it does not make sense that we are at 25 degrees, nor does it make sense that, if in summer we are comfortable at 24 degrees, we are at 18. And that applies to both the private home and the office or any public space. The change in people's attitude is already a fact, but society has to worry a little more and take advantage of the ways it has to adjust its efficiency.

As an expert and head of the “Quality of Life in Architecture” research group, Rufino Hernández recalls that we have made the main activity of cities that of mobility, especially in cars that make noise and pollute, brutally discriminate the urban space limit mobility of the pedestrian. Hence the special importance that must be given to the metro, tram or bus. The private car has a high cost in terms of quality of urban life so it is necessary to adjust the possibilities and use it properly. Rufino Hernández is convinced that the different forms of car sharing are going to gain popularity.

Consolidated cities that maintain traditional values ​​share buildings with economic and social activity and social endowments. The problem occurs in those neighborhoods that have not had the opportunity to develop this infrastructure. It is the problem of the peripheries that were built in the postwar period. Converting them under “15-minute city” models is quite complicated because in these cases the trips to work are normally very long. The challenge at the moment is to solve the problems in this part of the city. It does not make sense that a city continues to grow leaving a kind of islands that are not sufficiently endowed and structured unworked.

The so-called Healthy Poles are spaces in which the quality of life of its inhabitants is specially taken care of. Within the concept of the 15-minute city, the idea is that there is some area with services or facilities that allow social coexistence activities for all sectors of society and away from “the rush of citizens”. The most discriminated against are children, teenagers, and the elderly and we must be looking into their wellbeing if we want to create a healthy city. These poles can generate an oil stain that transmits nearby neighborhoods.

The administration must also be involved in the improvement of its urban space. During the congress, the development of the OPEN GELA that the Basque Government has begun to implement to create neighborhood communities with legal identity was explained. There are currently 4 offices open in Otxakoaga, Eibar, Durango, and Lasarte and there is a desire that they continue to be developed throughout the Basque Country as self-managed entities with weight and their own personality.

The energy self-consuming communities that are being implemented can be a very interesting test in the opinion of Rufino Hernández.

Green spaces are not lawns and flower gardens.

It is about re-integrating the city with the natural space, recovering the natural water cycle. The city dirties the water and takes it, leaks included, to better or worse purification centers, to end up in riverbeds that are often altered. On the other hand, cities have ended up being terribly waterproof by absolutely changing the natural currents that reach the sea with large amounts of dirt. "We have to go to the purification at source in each of the buildings and permeate the entire urban space"

Gardens have been disappearing from cities due to their maintenance costs, but well-understood nature does not have those costs. “It is not about large freshly cut lawns full of bright little flowers, but about the existence of natural local plants or even collectable plantations. Marry the city with the surrounding nature. "The more natural we leave the territory, the more sustainable it is". Rufino Hernández gave us the example of the Quicksilver building next to Anglet, made of wood in the middle of a pine forest in which they have not demolished the forest because they decided that nature was going to continue as it was and they were not going to "create" gardens. We have to get used to living with nature.

Rufino Hernández, the founder of AH Asociados Arquitectura, defends that the houses have been made according to the possibilities of each moment. There were failures due to simple ignorance. When there was no iron, the base was cement; When the low ceilings of Le Corbusier, one of the undisputed masters of architectural modernity, were in fashion, in Otxarkoaga "2.32 houses were built so that you could touch the ceiling with your fingers"

We find very diverse buildings that are not adapted to the current way of living. That implies even their own takedown. You have to measure things “And measure when to do what because there are many rehabilitations that have not been worth it. “The renovations that affect the quality of life of the people who inhabit the building are not worth it. It is not only a question of thermal insulation but of not ending the savings of a lifetime "