Renovation subsidies in Barcelona 2024

Here the most important aspects of this positive home renovation post in bullet points:

  • What’s a positive home renovation?
  • What’s a positive home?
  • What’s the future scenario?
  • Is my home in need of an energy efficiency upgrade?
  • Renovation subsidies in 2024
  • What tasks include a renovation for an energy efficiency upgrade?
  • Complex scenarios
  • Case study
  • Summary
  • Conclusions

May you don’t know us yet, let’s have a quick introduction: we’re ERA architects.
Actually, I’m Esther Rovira, architect and passive house designer in Barcelona and Catalonia for either passive houses or positive houses.
In this post ‘Renovation subsidies in Barcelona 2024′, you’ll find the list of basics you need to know before you start your renovation in Barcelona.
I hope it helps you! Let’s explore the 7 basics of a positive home renovation in Barcelona.

What is a Positive Home Renovation?

A positive home renovation means upgrading your home to lower the energy demand and carbon footprint of your home. So, the primary goal is to reduce your home’s carbon footprint while promoting energy efficiency and sustainability. Technically it’s also known as improving the energy efficiency value of your home. 

1) What’s a positive home

Check all about it in this link.

2) What’s the future scenario?

Collective housing buildings in the EU are responsible for 40% of our energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s the main reason the European Union has defined a minimum energy efficiency value for each home to reach in Europe by 2033.
This means that after that year every home that needs to be sold or rented in Europe will need to prove that it’s reaching that minimum energy efficiency value. If not, it will need to be renovated before that transaction. 

In Spain the minimum energy efficiency value to reach is a D. 

3) Is my home in need of an energy efficiency upgrade?

If you don’t know your home’s energy efficiency value; you may check the ‘escritura’ or ask your ‘administrador de fincas’. May they not have this value, ask yourself if your building is an old building that hasn’t been renovated before. If the building is from the 1980’s or before, then directly assume you’re below the D.
If you aren’t sure of this information and no one is willing to help you get this data, let me tell you 87% of homes in Barcelona city are below this value. So let’s assume your home (like mine) will most probably need an energy efficiency upgrade in the next 9 years.

4) Renovation subsidies in 2024

In 2024 there are renovation subsidies from the European Union to upgrade the energy efficiency of our homes.

What do the renovation subsidies cover?

The subsidies can cover either your project or the construction costs. But always with a maximum value depending on how much energy efficiency upgrade there is and how many house units there are.

And of course the EU has made sure to invest this money well, so the renovation subsidies are benefiting mostly entire collective house buildings.
So if you’re thinking about renovating your one apartment with subsidies by yourself, forget about it. The reason is the amount of paperwork is absolutely crazy to cover a maximum of 3.000€ subsidy (which may cover the costs of the new sustainable boiler machine only). I’m telling you, no architect will invest that amount of time for free to get this subsidy (and if you find that person, let me know!).

But hey, you can team up with your neighbors to upgrade the energy efficiency of the full building. Then you will all get a massive improvement on your energy bill. Plus you could get subsidies that range from 4.700€/apartment to 18.600€/apartment. That would depend on how much improvement there is in your energy efficiency (less than 30% for the 1st amount and more than 60% improvement in the second).

5) What tasks include a renovation for an energy efficiency upgrade?  

This can vary depending on the architect doing the project and calculations. But more commonly consists of:

  • Adding façade insulation
  • Adding roof insulation
  • Solving thermal bridges
  • Improving airtightness of existing installations
  • Changing windows
  • Changing hot water generation system
  • Changing heating and cooling systems

From our experience, if you do the first 4 tasks you would improve a maximum of 45% of your energy efficiency value. This means you could get a maximum subsidy of 6.300€ per apartment. 
If, on the other hand you do all the tasks, you would improve more than 60% of your energy efficiency value. This means you could get a maximum subsidy of 18.600€ per apartment.
However, you need to watch out of complex scenarios.

6) Complex scenarios  

Barcelona’s regulations are a pain in the ass when renovating. If considering subsidies, way harder then!

Heritage protection

This means that if your home has some heritage protection (or even if it’s just in Eixample district) you’ll be forced to invest more money to keep the Eixample urban landscape. One of the reasons is that you will need to install all windows in wood which is way more expensive (plus other complexities you’ll be facing with your façade, like wood blinds and even color palette).
Also the project will take forever to get approved since the city hall has a special heritage protection department where your project will be examined deeply in order to be approved or changed to the will of the examiners. Any change they need, they take 2 months to answer. And they could be asking for changes more than once even if your architect has visited them pre-upfront to confirm pre-design.
For all this complexities, we’ve decided not to work with heritage protected buildings.

Touristic apartments

The scenarios that will most probably not receive this subsidies are (we’ve checked different experts they cannot confirm or deny, but considering the Barcelona current city hall, most probably not):

  • Any apartments in the same building that charges over the renting index price
  • Airbnbies (either short term rentals or middle term if income is over the renting index price)
  • Second residences

This means that if a collective house building has 15 apartments where: 5 are short term rental, 5 are middle term rental and 5 are long term rental complying with the rental index price of the Generalitat; then the maximum sustainable subsidy of the full building if improving less than 45% of energy efficency value would be 5 times 6.300€. Meaning in a full building renovation of around 500.000€ in costs, the subsidy could cover  31.500€. Which is the amount any architect will charge only for the project plus doing all the paperwork to ask for the subsidy.

7) Case study  

In a project we’ve recently developed for a full building in Barcelona without heritage protection in the district of Sant Martí, we’ve developed 5 options combining the tasks explained above with different widths of insulation.

We ended up with an option that would improve 80% the energy efficiency value. Meaning we could get 18.600€ per apartment. Considering 14 house units, the subsidy covers 260.400€. Considering the total cost was 450.000€+iva; the subsidy was covering 58% of the total costs without iva. This includes project and construction.
So each apartment owner had to pay 13.542€ to adequate their home to the 2033 European standards.
May they wait until 2033, they will be forced to improve their energy efficiency value without subsidies. In this second scenario, each neighbour will have to pay 32.142€. 


  1. The Essence of a Positive Home:

A positive home is one that prioritizes comfort, energy efficiency, and sustainability. It focuses on reaching: optimal temperatures, solar energy, net-zero energy consumption, silence, water-saving, and high oxygen levels.

  1. Facing the Future:

With housing buildings responsible for a significant portion of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of our planet, the European Union’s push for minimum energy efficiency standards by 2033 is a crucial step. In Spain, achieving a minimum energy efficiency value of ‘D’ is essential.

  1. Assessing Your Home’s Need:

Determining your home’s energy efficiency value is key. If unsure, older buildings, especially those constructed before the 1980s, are likely below the ‘D’ rating. In Barcelona, a staggering 87% of homes fall below this threshold, signaling a widespread need for energy efficiency upgrades.

  1. Renovation Subsidies in 2024:

The year 2024 brings the opportunity for renovation subsidies from the European Union specifically aimed at enhancing the energy efficiency of homes. However, individual apartment renovations may not be feasible due to bureaucratic complexities. But collective building upgrades present a more viable option.

  1. Tasks Involved in Energy Efficiency Upgrade:

Renovating for energy efficiency typically involves tasks such as adding façade and roof insulation, addressing thermal bridges, improving airtightness, changing windows, and upgrading heating/cooling systems. These tasks can significantly impact energy efficiency values.

  1. Navigating Complex Scenarios:

Renovating in Barcelona, especially for heritage-protected buildings or those in tourist-heavy areas, presents challenges. Heritage protection may require specific materials and prolonged approval processes, while tourist apartments may not qualify for subsidies.

  1. Case Study: A Glimpse into Reality:

A case study highlights the financial dynamics of a positive home renovation project. In one scenario, a building in Sant Martí achieved an 80% improvement in energy efficiency, securing substantial subsidies. The subsidy covered a significant portion of the total costs, making it a financially feasible investment for apartment owners.


In conclusion, the journey towards a positive home renovation involves understanding energy efficiency, navigating subsidy opportunities, and addressing the unique challenges posed by regulations and building characteristics. The path may be complex, but the rewards in terms of comfort, sustainability, and potential cost savings are significant. As we approach the EU’s 2033 standards, the time to embark on this transformative journey is now.

You may also be interested:

In our other post: Sustainable renovation upgrade tasks in Barcelona
Hope this post ‘Renovation subsidies in Barcelona 2024’ is helpful!
(Am I missing anything? Any question burning you? 👉 leave a comment below if you need more info and we’ll answer to help everyone else as well!)

Best of luck on your positive home renovation adventure.
See you on the next post,


Founder of ERA architects

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