Vila d’Este Housing Refurbishment project is a large-scale rehabilitation project coordinated by Vila Nova de Gaia municipality under the period 2009-2015.
Situated on the South entrance area of Vila Nova de Gaia municipality and built between 1984 and 1986 through a Funding Program for Housing Development, Vila D’Este district comprises a population of around 7,500 inhabitants distributed on 109 buildings organized over 18 blocks, with 2,085 dwellings and 76 commercial spaces.
Since many years, the built-up area of Vila D’Este suffered an intense deterioration due to the absence of maintenance and rehabilitation measures and the lack of an effective urban planning process.
This extensive rehabilitation process represented an extremely high investment for the investor (Gaia municipality) with no financial return, since in many cases the ownership of the buildings is split between the municipality and individual private owners. The rehabilitation process was divided in two phases, being the 1st phase in 2009 and the 2nd in 2013, and accounting an overall investment of Gaia municipality of nearly 12 million Euros.
The main strategic objectives of the energy rehabilitation of Vila D’Este neighbourhood were related with the elimination of the existing anomalies, to suit current energy requirements and indoor air quality, and to rehabilitate the entire neighbourhood development from an architectural and aesthetics perspective.

Resources needed

The project was financed by the "ON.2 – North Regional Operational Programme (QREN)" in 2008 (phase 1) and 2011 (phase 2), within the framework of the program "Cities Policy - Partnerships for Urban Regeneration", approved on 29 July 2008 under Priority Axis IV - Qualification of the Urban System.

Evidence of success

In an overall perspective, Vila D’Este Refurbishment represents a successful investment of 12 million Euros, co-financed by EU and National funds, with an evident direct impact on the quality of life of its 7.500 inhabitants.
The refurbishment project is the largest of its kind in Europe and led to the improvement of the energy performance of the buildings, allowing a potential annual saving of 3.800 ton CO2eq and an estimated annual saving of 837.433,92 €/year.

Potential for learning or transfer

This good practice is in line with the revision of the EPBD Directive and its requirements for NZEB standards that all new buildings should fulfil by the end of 2020.
The progressive implementation of EE measures and buildings improvements was a crucial opportunity to foster the sustainability of Vila D’Este building park and its urban image, thus also increasing the quality of life and the social inclusion of its inhabitants.
The project was financed with EU structural funds with a very high funding rate and the remainder was supported by the municipality's own capital. It has proved to be replicable and a driving force for the achievement of new projects in the region.
The combination of social inclusion and EE measures were important focus for transferability for other municipal and governance structures, due to their relevance under the EU policy framework that considers the need for energy efficiency policies combined with social policies to fight energy poverty.
Main institution
Municipio de Vila Nova de Gaia
Norte, Portugal
Start Date
January 2009
End Date
July 2015


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Good Practices being followed by

Carla Pires

Municipio de Vila Nova de Gaia