Key Topics

The EUKI-projects work on the topics of Sustainable Economy, Awareness, Energy, Mobility, Cross-cutting Climate Policy, Buildings and Municipalities.

This manual by EUKI project Green Rural Deal informs about the transformative potential of public policies in the context of the green transition and includes strategies, instruments and tools for European policy makers.

Project Improving C-balances on livestock free organic farms

Project Improving C-balances on Livestock Free Organic Farms

This publications offers insights of methods on “how to improve humus balances in organic arable farms with low livestock numbers”. Naturland e.V. organised a study trip to different farms in Austria and Hungary in May 2022 to learn about farming.

The aim of this collaborative project with the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia (KIS) and the Institute of Fruit and Vegetable Crops Serbia (IFVC) is to improve the humus balance and carbon storage capacity of soil.

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Improving C-Balances in Organic Farms

UPGREAT: Aspects affecting the performance gap in energy renovations of public school buildings

UPGREAT – Training Tool for Efficient Schools

From the community

UPGREAT: Aspects affecting the performance gap in energy renovations of public school buildings

by Christina Palochi, Architectural Engineer, Cyprus Energy Agency

When referring to “gaps and barriers” in deep energy renovations of schools, there is a variety of aspects affecting the building’s performance difference between the proposed solutions and the actual results. These aspects concern the design procedure that involves architects and engineers and the produced construction drawings, as well as the tendering and subsequently the implementation phase, when the contractor and subcontractors are assigned the project.

Throughout the duration of these stages of design and construction, the communication and correspondence between the involved architects, engineers and contractors should be efficient and clear in terms of understanding the project’s needs and the methodology that is going to be adopted to achieve the desirable outcome. A common background knowledge and technical expertise regarding construction materials, building systems and construction detailing for energy renovations could be achieved through technical training and qualification processes for building professionals. Particularly, when the tendering documents include requirements for technical knowledge and certifications of the contractors taking part in the tendering process, for certain construction works, e.g., the installation of facade and roof insulation materials, it is more likely that the finished project would be completed in compliance with the initial specifications set at the design phase.

Kindergarten in Nicosia

Figure 1: Kindergarten in Nicosia, Cyprus ©Cyprus Energy Agency

An aspect that may cause deviations between the designed and the completed project is the methodology of describing and analyzing the construction works required for deep energy renovations in school buildings. The synergies between UPGREAT and PEDIA (Horizon 2020) projects have significant contribution to the outcomes of both projects, as the main objective of PEDIA is the implementation of energy renovations in public schools, while UPGREAT aims to upskill building professionals for energy renovations of schools. Therefore, the knowledge gained from the tendering phase for the purposes of PEDIA is important for understanding the technical background and skills required by the responsible parties, either referring to the engineers preparing the procurement, or to the contractors and builders involved in the construction phase.

In particular, as resulted from the preparation of the tendering documents for the energy renovations of five out of the twenty-five pilot school buildings taking part in the project PEDIA, an efficient and understandable method to present and describe the different construction works, was to divide them into categories. Thus, there were nine main categories which included different applicable methodologies as sub-categories, as shown in the indicative “Table of Contents” below:

Table of Contents

  1. Exterior Wall Insulation

A.1 External Thermal Insulation System – Thermal Facades

A.2 External Thermal Insulation System – Dry Walls

A.3 Internal Thermal Insulation System – Dry Walls

  1. Thermal Insulation and Waterproofing for Flat Roofs

B.1 Inverted System (Extruded Polystyrene and Tiles on top)

B.2 Conventional System (Waterproofing on top)

  1. Thermal Insulation of Flat Slabs under Sloped Roofs
  2. Replacement of Existing Window/Door Frames
  3. Repairs of Interior Surfaces (Water Damage Repairs and Paintings)
  4. Repair or Installation of Shading Devices
  5. Creation of Green Spaces
  6. Creation of Green Roofs
  7. Electrical and Mechanical Works
Primary School in Nicosia

Figure 2: Primary School in Nicosia, Cyprus ©Cyprus Energy Agency

In addition, within each main category, an explanatory table with all the five school buildings was developed, in order to clearly indicate which method was applicable for each school along with specific guidelines and significant remarks that the Tenderers should have had in mind while preparing their pricing lists and offers. It is worth mentioning that in some cases the school layouts were more complicated and required a combination of methodologies for the same work. In particular, one primary school building (Figure 2) has both inclined and flat roofs, therefore two different methodologies were proposed for the thermal insulation of the slabs. Another example is a kindergarten in Nicosia (Figure 1), that has decorative stone cladding on some of the exterior walls that should not be covered or altered, as it plays a significant role in the architectural character of the building. In this case, the proposed thermal insulation method for the stone clad walls was to construct a 10cm thick dry wall with rockwool, tangent to the inner side, while for the rest of the exterior walls the proposed method referred to thermal facade systems with 10cm extruded polystyrene.

To conclude, apart from the classification of the different tasks and methods, and the clear mapping of the requirements of each project, there are numerous factors that affect whether the initial goals are achieved and therefore the energy performance of a school building is significantly improved. One of the most important factors is that the involved building professionals are fully informed from the beginning of the project and have the necessary technical training, so that they can meet the requirements and deliver a high standard of work.

Responsible for the content of this page is the named author / organisation: Christina Palochi, Cyprus Energy Agency / UPGREAT Project

This report by, the implementing organization of the EUKI project EUCENA, aims to understand the status quo of gender relations and the integration of women and men in energy communities. It also proposes strategies for mainstreaming gender in policy and practice.

Identifying the gaps and barriers in deep energy renovation of school buildings through UPGREAT

UPGREAT – Training Tool for Efficient Schools

From the community

Identifying the gaps and barriers in deep energy renovation of school buildings through UPGREAT

by Tsakoumakis Nektarios, Mechanical Engineer, Hellenic Passive House Institute

As it is already known the building sector is responsible for 36% of the total greenhouse gas emissions and 40% of the EU energy consumption. Having this in our mind and concerning that the society today has to move towards a more sustainable future, while the ongoing energy crisis is affecting millions of Europeans, bold actions have to be undertaken!

The European Union’s target for renovating 3% of public buildings every year needs to be addressed with the highest of responsibility in order to minimize our carbon footprint for the next decades. Schools consist of some of the most common public buildings and their energy demand is quite big due to the fact that they host a large amount of people inside them. According to research for classroom air quality,  a healthy learning environment can reduce the absence rate, improve test scores and enhance pupils-teachers learning-teaching productivity. Those standards for IAQ are unknown in almost 99% of both teachers and students, especially in Greece.

The EUKI-funded project UPGREAT (Upskilling Professionals for deep enerGy efficiency REnovations: A Tool for better schools), is oriented to schools for the reason that they are the buildings that are accommodating children and they are spending a third of their first 18 years inside them. Also, schools, especially in Greece are built in modules and are easier to be renovated. The positive impact that they have in the neighborhood is also a way to promote the nZEB standards and they are living examples for the pupils-future engineers of how buildings should perform by provide them the proper internal air quality, adequate thermal, optical and acoustic comfort in order for them to be able to feel comfortable and to be ready to assimilate the knowledge. Those are some of the advantages that the Passive House standard offers with the mechanical ventilation, the airtightness of the building and the well secured thermal envelope.

But how is that feasible? How are the engineers going to construct this kind of building, and more specifically, schools? How are the students going to “invest” their time instead of “spending” it?

This is the gap that UPGREAT project comes to bridge by supporting the construction industry. In the end of August and for 5 consecutive days, six engineers and energy efficiency experts from Cyprus and Greece were trained on how to teach other engineers and tradespersons about deep energy renovations. This was made possible by attending the “Train the Trainer” special courses, a tailor made programme exclusively provided to the consortium of UPGREAT, offered by the Passive House Institute in Darmstadt, Germany.

By completing the “Train the Trainer” programme, UPGREAT members are ready to better approach other white and blue collar professionals with skills they gained during those five days in Darmstadt. Particularly, they learned to identify the type of learners that they are going to teach and adapt their teaching technique accordingly. Also they emphasized in the structure of the curriculum, in order to contain the necessary information considering the professionals that are going to be educated in the nearly zero energy building methods of construction.

The course closed with presentations on how to design an exam by adapting it to the teaching units that are more relevant to the professionals who are going to attend the future courses. This set of teaching units are going to be implemented in the Guidebook & Training Toolkit that will be used in order to promote the Passive House standard in the engineering industry and it will bridge the gaps in the industry, such as the lack of technical skills and knowledge of the professionals in the construction industry, either referring to white or blue-collar practitioners.

But, how about real life examples? What happens after the training of the professionals?

Tour in a construction site of a PH school with the vice mayor of Darmstadt for educational affairs

Tour in a construction site of a PH school with the vice mayor of Darmstadt for educational affairs; Image by Theoni Karlessi

During the last two days, UPGREAT members had the chance to visit five school buildings that incorporate aspects of the Passive House standard and couple the outcomes from the “Train the Trainer” course with on site good practices.

For two days, they visited five schools, from elementary schools to high schools, all of them constructed according to the Passive House standard. By doing so, they came closer to Passive buildings and they understood how those high energy efficient buildings work.

Hessenwald School

Hessenwald School; Image by Nektarios Tsakoumakis

With the help of Dr.Oliver Ottinger from the German Da Di Werk, a company that regulates and operates 81 schools in the district in terms of sustainability and also a member of the UPGREAT consortium, the trainees from the Cyprus Energy Agency, the Hellenic Passive House Institute and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens were toured in the schools gaining experience and ideas for better school buildings and ways to promote and incorporate the Passive House principles while implementing deep energy renovations in schools .

Facility rooms, restaurants designed to serve hundreds of students simultaneously, multipurpose rooms and classrooms were shown to the trainees. The challenges faced during the construction phases, common mistakes that occur in the construction site, special aspects of the energy efficient heating and cooling systems, operational insights on day and night ventilation systems, nature based light solutions (e.g., skylights), energy efficient door and window frames (e.g., 3-ply windows), automations (e.g., shading units), green roofs, insulation, energy generation from wood pellets, and ergonomic design for the general comfort of the users -students and teachers are some of the points the visits were focused on, depending on the peculiarities of each building. Moreover, the performance gap between the designed energy demand and the final energy consumption, which as it was referred to, tends to zero, was discussed too.

To achieve this we need a more holistic approach during the designing and the planning of the renovated buildings. Everything should be given the necessary attention in order to avoid mistakes during the construction phase. The engineers should be in place to choose the right material for each structural element and to implement the right application method for each construction material. The same attention should be given for the mechanical equipment during the designing and the implementation of the systems.

To that way, the UPGREAT project, was designed for this specific purpose; to upskill building professionals in relation to deep energy renovations.

Responsible for the content of this page is the named author / organisation: Tsakoumakis Nektarios, Hellenic Passive House Institute / UPGREAT Project

EUKI project UPGREAT has been part of the fifth edition of the International Conference on Economic and Social Sciences (ICESS) and has published their scientific paper “Identification of Gaps and Barriers in Building Renovations through a Targeted Survey to Professionals of the Built Environment to Upgrade the Quality of Building Stock and Mitigate Climate Change” in the conference publication.

EUCENA Best Practice Guide_GR

European Citizen Energy Academy: Best Practice Guide

The EUKI project EUCENA – European Citizen Energy Academy published a best practice guide for South East Europe featuring inspiring community energy initiatives in the Balkan region. The goal of this publication is to illustrate good practices of energy communities in the region and to inspire citizens to launch their own citizen energy communities, following the steps of the frontrunning initiatives.

Best Practice Guide in English

Best Practice Guide in Greek

EUCENA – European Citizen Energy Academy

solar panel watering a agricultural field

45 young people from the Balkan countries in the Albanian Energy Lab

EUCENA – European Citizen Energy Academy

From the community

45 young people from the Balkan countries in the Albanian Energy Lab

by Milieukontakt Albania

The Energy Lab was organized by the Milieukontakt Albania, in cooperation with “Polis” University, as an integral part of the “Tirana: European Youth Capital for 2022” program on September 1 and 2. It is part of EUKI funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). Forty-five young people from Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Serbia participated in the meeting, with the aim of networking among young people and providing opportunities for sharing ideas, knowledge, best practices from the renewable energy sector.


©Milieukontakt Albania

The first sunny day started with the acquaintance of the young people with the EUCENA project, the energy communities in the region and Albania, the approach to them, the current situation for dealing with energy, energy poverty and the groups most affected by it, the positive social impacts resulting from the development of various energy projects.

“City Walk – Design Thinking for Change”

The young people of the Lab, under the mentorship of professors from “Polis” University and the facilitation of Milieukontakt staff, along the walk in the central areas of the city, were led into finding concrete problems of many of the buildings along the way, the possibilities and the forms that could be selected for the realization and improvement of thermal performance through the installation and use of photovoltaic panels.


©Milieukontakt Albania

This exercise helped young people develop basic concepts of energy efficiency such as: effectiveness, performance, saving strategies, energy conservation and management. Walking in the city obviously and easily helped the young people to compare the old buildings with the new ones in a general way, focusing on the similarities and the differences between them in terms of architectural and engineering solutions regarding energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency, effectiveness, performance, saving, conservation and management

For all the above concepts, the young people were introduced to the way data can be collected through measurements using specific equipment, the way they can be interpreted and then documented. Expert professors in the field of energy demonstrated methods of data analysis, including analysis of energy bills, building audits and energy consumption profiles. The concrete example of the capsule near the “Polis” University enabled the analysis of the thermal performance.

The data collected from the capsule house were analysed and interpreted by computer applications. The professional instruments used were TESTO thermal cameras. The program of the first day was concluded with the information on the solar panels, which are also found in the university premises, where the young people closely examined their structure, discussing their energy benefits.

The second day started full of positive energy, with the desire of the young people, not only to be a part, but at the same time to dedicate themselves throughout the modules in the laboratory. It is these young people who, through personal capacities and knowledge acquired day by day, will aim to find financial opportunities and human capacities for the use of solar and photovoltaic panels in homes, institutions or organizations where they can contribute in the near future.

The youth were given the opportunity to build their ideal house, how they would like a sustainable construction, how to ensure a well-designed building structure that will be financially, economically and ecologically acceptable. Building sustainably is one of the most important points of sustainable development and this includes the use of building materials that do not harm the environment, energy efficiency in buildings and their well-management.


©Milieukontakt Albania

A training on the technology of demonstrative photovoltaic panels was also carried out, accompanied by practical exercises for the young people on the installation of the panels, which enabled the connection of the panel to various devices for supplying energy and putting them into operation.

Detailed information was shared among the participants about the “Retscreen” program, which enables the calculation of the energy capacity provided by a photovoltaic panel for a certain building. This module took place at the Energy Efficiency laboratory, integrated at the university.

The Energy Lab has been appreciated by the participants as a real laboratory of information and expertise on energy as a whole, but also as the place where the young people from the Balkans spent two pleasant days, during which they got to know the positive energy of Albanian citizens, who day by day contribute to the growth and enrichment of natural and spiritual resources. For further developments in the prosperity of our society, every day particles of positive energy, which together form the energy that facilitates and enables everyone’s existence, just as Ludwig Boltzmann (physicist and philosopher 1844-1906) said “Available energy, the main argument in the struggle between the existence and evolution of the world”.

blank  ©Milieukontakt Albania                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Energy Transition 

Citizen engagement movements for generating renewable energy from the sun and wind are developing across Europe, creating communities of citizens for this vitally important sector, which aim to provide financial facilities, democratic inclusiveness, concrete and cost-free benefits for the environment.
New energy communities are also being created, encouraging and promoting the participation of individuals of different genders and ages.


Let’s Solarize Albania!

This campaign aims to help raise the funds for the construction of an 8 kwp photovoltaic (PV) in Piskova village in the South of Albania.

Responsible for the content of this page is the named author / organisation:

This report is about a mistery shopping campaign and gives an overview of various practices of financial advisors across Europe and challenges the upcoming regulation’s capability to address the most common pitfalls.

What do your clients actually want?

What do your Clients actually want?

The majority of retail clients across Europe have sustainability investment objectives. In climate action policies, however, “sustainable finance” has so far only played a minor role.

To enable financial advisors to better take into account the sustainability goals of their clients in the future, the EUKI project Sustainable Finance and Consumer Protection conducted a survey in six European countries. In its latest report, “What do your clients actually want?”, results from the survey were used to build estimates of potential market shares for different sustainable finance products and thus want clients actually want.

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Sustainable Finance and Consumer Protection