PICSA, Sustainable Construction Programme PICSA, Sustainable Construction Programme

SPAIN, Andalusia

by: Andalusian Energy Agency (Regional network)

S3 domain: Sustainable construction

Energy topics:    Smart cities

Energy topics:    Smart Buildings

Innovation type:    Technological    /   Managerial

Level of Good Practice implementation:     Regional 


The Sustainable Construction Programme in Andalusia (PICSA) is a combination of economic measures and other actions such as regulatory, training and fiscal, that seek, through energy saving and renewable energy generation or integration, to promote the energy rehabilitation of buildings and the urban rehabilitation, to improve the competitiveness of companies of the construction sector, to create skilled employment and reduce energy poverty.

The construction sector in Andalusia has evolved from representing 14.4% of the regional GDP in 2007 to 7.6% currently, has reduced from 15.2% to 5.2% its weight in employment and suffers from a high unemployment rate.

In energy terms, this sector represents one of the main consumers of Andalusia with almost two million buildings in Andalusia in need of substantial improvements.

The improvement of the competitiveness, the promotion of innovation, the generation of specialised and quality employment, and the society´s change of culture towards more efficient practices, are the main challenges of PICSA programme to achieve the energy and environmental objectives.

The PICSA programme started in 2014 consisting of three main actions:

  1. An incentive scheme for sustainable construction
  2. A financing line through revolving funds for companies
  3. A Development Plan for the Sustainable Construction and Rehabilitation of Andalusia, Horizon 2020. 


PICSA, which was awarded the REGIOSTARS 2015, has been improved and extended in its main actions during 2016 with its internationalisation at European Level through the S3 Partnership on Sustainable Buildings[1], an initiative supported by the European Commission defined as a strategic alliance between European regions and Member States to take advantage of regional opportunities for smart specialisation in sustainable buildings.

The strategy in this field includes the redefinition of sustainable construction in terms of energy rehabilitation of buildings, the physical, social, economic and environmental recovery of urban environments and the rehabilitation of cities. The opportunities are based on the development of new materials and sustainable processes.


Stakeholders play a very important role in all parts of the PICSA. Regarding the design of the incentive scheme, the principle of governance was incorporated, opening the dialogue process to market actors, from both the supply and the demand side.

Thus, the incentive scheme has been developed with the participation of companies liaising with the Agency in the management and processing of incentives, which facilitates the administrative procedures for final users. Most of them were SMEs, which contributes to generating economic activity.

Also, for the elaboration of the Development Plan, a Round Table was formed with more than 70 experts.

Stakeholders involved in implementation

  • Public authority
  • Economic and/or innovation agency
  • Energy agency
  • Intermediary
  • Research actors
  • Industry
  • SMEs
  • NGO
  • Civil society


  • Public authority
  • Industry
  • SMEs


From 2014 to 2015:

  1. Design and implementation of an incentive scheme of 164 million euros and 48 possible actions. The minimum investment was very low, only 400 euros, so everybody could apply for an incentive.
  2. Design and Implementation of a revolving fund with a budget of 50 million euros from the JEREMIE initiative[1], aimed at the companies liaising with the Agency in the management of incentives.
  3. Organisation of a Round Table with the objective to elaborate a Development Plan for the Sustainable Construction and Rehabilitation of Andalusia.
From 2016, based on the lessons learned, a new incentive scheme and new financial lines were launched. Also, the implementation of most of the 90 action lines included in the Development Plan started, as well as the creation of the S3 European Partnership on Sustainable Buildings. The implementation of the first interregional projects is expected before the end of 2017. 


For the incentives scheme, 164 million euros from ESIF To4 and Regional Funds. In addition, the Development Plan is provided with 529 million euros until 2020, with budgets available from the European Union and the Andalusian Regional Government.

Public funding sources

  • ESIF T01 (research and innovation)
  • ESIF T04 (low carbon economy)
  • Regional Funds

Results achieved

Quantitatively, the results from the incentive scheme have been the following:

Boost economic recovery of the construction sector

  • 36,419 actions
  • 242 M€ investment
  • 8,247 collaborating partner companies

Generation and maintenance of employment

  • 20,000 direct jobs in the implementation and management of the actions
  • More than 60% of the companies have generated new job positions
  • 22% of the collaborating companies formed working relationships with other companies participating in PICSA
  • 43% of the collaborating companies carry out other types of actions different to those included in PICSA.

Use of efficient energy

  • 36,322 toe/year of energy saved and 85,964 tons of CO2 avoided.

Reduction of the energy bill

  • Economic saving of more than 280 million euros in companies, citizens, neighbourhood and other entities.

Vulnerable groups – energy poverty

Almost 23% of the incentives have been used to improve the housing quality of over 7,000 low-income familie

Future perspectives

The impacts of the new incentive scheme launched in 2016 are expected to be higher than the previous ones, due to the improvements implemented in the new incentive scheme as a result of the evaluation process and a greater participation of private finance:

  • 50.860 actions
  • 1,425 millions of economic saving
  • 23.500 new jobs.

In addition to these above-mentioned impacts of the incentive schemes, there are other actions included in the Development Plan which will have an even more positive impact on the construction sector and buildings (80.000 new jobs in the next 5 years).




The most successful element with results already achieved is the design and management of the incentive scheme. To highlight, the participation of more than 8.000 collaborating companies in the management of incentives. They also played an active role in the publicity and dissemination among potential beneficiaries. Other elements that ensured the success of this scheme were: the design of a catalogue of energy improvement measures which allowed potential beneficiaries to know from the start what actions could be carried out to save energy; and the design of a very simplified 100% computerised procedure.

One of the main challenges was to facilitate the accessibility of the incentives to society through simplification. In this sense, the incentive aimed to achieve:

  • A single and simpler procedure
  • Fewer documentary obligations.
  • A new clearer and more complete classification of actions.

Another challenge was to achieve a better energy culture:

  • New technical conditions for greater energy savings and satisfying needs.
  • Possibility of opting for more sustainable, energetic and environmentally friendly solutions.
Finally, it was necessary to offer the maximum guarantee to beneficiaries by improving business development and the competiveness of the collaborating companies.

At the end of the incentive scheme in 2015, an evaluation process was carried out. From this evaluation, a series of lessons learned were drawn that have been taken into account in the design of the new incentive scheme launched in 2016. To highlight:

  • Improve the training of collaborating companies relating to the documentation requirements for the justification of expenditure.
  • Carry out a pre and post analysis of the energy impact of the action undertaken implemented through the requirement of a previous and post certificate.
  • Facilitate complementary financing tools.
And progress in the improvement of the justification, facilitating the verification process of expenditure.
Good practices are currently being transferred in the framework of the BUILD2LC project, led by the Andalusian Energy Agency. The overall objective of BUILD2LC, developed under the Interreg Europe programme 2014-2020, is to increase energy rehabilitation of buildings to reduce energy consumption and enhance policies to favour the creation of a market specialised companies in the sector. The project, financed by the European Commission, began in 2016, and involves a consortium of participating regions from 7 European countries that exchange good practices in this sector in the area of financing, competitiveness, activation of the demand and innovation. the framework of this project, the transfer of the good practice has been carried out through various interregional seminars (in which the good practice “PICSA” has been presented in detail), through the development of bilateral meetings with partner regions interested in its implementation and through the support of the Andalusian Energy Agency in the adaptation of the good practice to the particularities of each region. In addition to BUILD2LC, delegations from countries such as Greece, Italy, Germany or Bosnia and Herzegovina have held meetings with the Andalusian Energy Agency, interested in learning more about the good practice. 


  • Flagship project
  • Strategic programme
  • Funding programme
  • Key actors Platform (for regional cooperation)
  • Interregional or International cooperation
  • Intelligence tool (measurement, analysis, foresight, evaluation…)


  • Relevance to national and/or regional energy strategy
  • Leading to private investments
  • Transferability of the practice