Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP) presented the results of Nearly Zero Energy Hotels (NEZEH) project with representatives from two pilot facilities which entered the final phase as best examples of business practice. Officials from Croatian ministries of tourism, economy, construction and spatial planning also attended the event, as they are involved in the efforts to reduce energy consumption together with the national Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund (FZOEU). Participants at the event vowed to work to simplify the process for hotel operators to receive subsidies aimed at reaching near zero energy.
„Buildings consume 40% of total energy and emit 36% of greenhouse gases in the European Union. In order to change it, EU and by that Croatia as well are developing regulations and measures for the transformation of old and new buildings to nearly zero energy buildings (NZEBs),“ said the project’s manager Marko Bišćan. „A nearly zero energy building has high energy efficiency and it produces a good part of needed energy from renewable sources at the site or in direct vicinity. The NEZEH project selected hotels in Europe and stimulated them to reach energy status of almost zero, which will bring savings of 50% in energy consumption and a significant reduction of operational expenses. Sixteen hotels in seven European countries (Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Romania, Spain and Sweden) were selected to become European NEZEH pilot hotels. These hotels are on the way to become pioneers in European hotel industry,“ he added. The reconstruction includes strict measures for efficiency and the integration of renewable energy solutions, but also changes in the behaviour of the management, the staff and the guests. The two hotels in Croatia chosen for the projects are Split and Villa Adriatica.
Mladen Tomić, owner of hotel Split, which was built in 2012, said significant funds and efforts were invested in reaching as low energy consumption as possible. The costs of energy are lower, but it will take more time to return the investment, he stressed. „The fact that the hotel is green may boost the motive for the guests to come, but statistics show they are not willing to pay more in an environmentally aware hotel. We hope that the nearly zero energy hotel certificate will help change that,“ according to Tomić.
EIHP is one of the partners in NEZEH, responsible for implementation in Croatia. The project is co-financed by the European Commission through the Intelligent Energy – Europe programme.