Since the City of Belgrade joined the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA), the efforts to establish prerequisites for implementing policies and programs for energy efficiency have gathered a variety of experts in energy field, across state and city-level public institutions, academia, international organizations and development agencies in charge of or engaged in improving living and working conditions by promoting energy efficiency. These efforts have been fully supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment).
BEA Initiative is a part of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) global platform and innovative public-private collaboration that turns global expertise into action to accelerate local government implementation of building efficiency policies and programs.
The BEA global partnership is designed to complement existing networks of cities by facilitating access to global expertise in building efficiency topics and providing a venue for engagement with private sector partners.
Buildings are targeted as they are responsible for one-third of global energy demand and one-quarter of global GHG emissions. It is estimated that global building energy demand can be reduced by one-third by 2050 if known energy efficiency best-practices are implemented on a large scale across regions.
The major barriers to efficient buildings, apart from institutional and behavioral include also ones of technical or financial nature. The BEA aims to break down these barriers by increasing global and cross-sector collaboration.
The SE4All Initiative is focused on achieving the goal of sustainable energy by 2030, while doubling the rate of energy efficiency is a core focus of BEA’s work.
Pilot project – from lignite to clean future
The accelerator of energy efficiency in buildings helps local governments in improving energy efficiency in buildings under their jurisdiction, said Jelena Živković, UN Environment’s Technical Advisor for BEA in Belgrade.
The City of Belgrade was selected for the 2016 – 2017 period for the deep dive partnership with BEA. A set of guidelines for the implementation of procedures for renovating projects in residential buildings will be produced as a part of the project, while a pilot project will demonstrate the application of energy efficiency measures on the ground.
“Vlada Obradović-Kameni” elementary school in Ledine, Belgrade suburb, was selected as the Belgrade pilot project. Built at times when thermal insulation and energy efficiency measures were not applied, it was set to serve as perfect example of large energy savings when contemporary energy efficiency measures are applied,” explained Dušan Ignjatović, professor at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade.
He also emphasized that children will have a great opportunity to learn first-hand about energy efficiency and its positive impact on living and working environment, as well as how scarce but more and more expensive resource the energy has become.
“The school in Ledine was built in 1961 and has used lignite for its heating system ever since with annual consumption of around 80 tonnes per year. The old school building itself has annual energy consumption of 200 KWh/m2,” said Petar Vasiljević, production manager at Public District Heating Company “Beogradske Elektrane”.
He added: “Children will have a great opportunity to learn first-hand about energy efficiency and its positive impact on living and working environment.”
He also pointed out that once biomass replaces coal and energy rehabilitation of the building is finalized, the actual energy consumption will be cut in a half at least, while CO2 and NOx emissions will be almost completely eliminated.
Multiple benefits of partnership with BEA
Miodrag Grujić from Secretariat of Environmental Protection of the City of Belgrade, who is also a BEA Operational Focal Point, indicates the importance of BEA project impact on the environment of big cities such as Belgrade, where district heating system uses fossil fuels.
“We can reduce both energy consumption and harmful emissions by 40 or 50 percent”, Grujić estimated.
The Energy Efficiency Fund of the City of Belgrade was established in late 2016. It has been planned that it will be financed from the City’s budget (10 percent), by socially-responsible companies as donors (another 10 percent), and the rest will be provided by bank loans or funds.
Dragan Vuković, Head of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Department at the Secretariat of Energy, City of Belgrade, pointed out at benefits from the Fund in cost and loan structure for energy renovation of buildings and apartments and said that another benefit of the BEA project for Belgrade is that it provides proper mechanisms of evaluation and monitoring.
Multiple benefits are the reasons why Belgrade will not only continue but intensify cooperation with the BEA, Vuković emphasized.