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Our buildings – accelerating climate action for buildings in Romania and Bulgaria

In September 2018 the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), together with Energy Cities Romania and Bulgaria’s Center for Energy Efficiency EnEffect, kick-started a new project under the EUKI framework that focuses on developing the capacity and transferring the knowledge required to enable municipalities and civil society to integrate building renovation strategies into local and national energy and climate plans.

The Clean Energy Package brings changes to the way countries must draft and report Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NEPCs) and long-term renovation strategies to decarbonise the building stock by 2050. To be in line with the 2030 objectives, all climate and energy plans should include measures for buildings renovation, a characterization of buildings in the GHG emissions inventory, a selection of renovation projects to be executed, financing sources, expected energy/CO₂ savings and their contribution to overall GHG reduction. Capacity building and harmonization of these plans are therefore vital.

Municipality of Kula, Bulgaria, where the introductory meetings took place. Photo: Our Buildings

Unfortunately, policy makers at regional and municipal level struggle to implement measures to boost renovation activities and local actors face multiple challenges in developing and implementing renovation strategies and climate plans. Low involvement of local authorities in national planning, the lack of capacity to contribute to national strategies and develop local strategies and the lack of financial and technical expertise are only some of the challenges.

Introductory meeting in the municipality of Etropole, Bulgaria. Photo: Our Buildings

These challenges stand also for the target countries of the project, Bulgaria and Romania, which have similar building stocks, characterised by large run-down communist-era blocks and inefficient individual homes, contributing to air pollution and high CO2 emissions. The project, aimed mostly at municipal and national public officers and at the civil society, will enable the target groups to fulfil the Clean Energy Package requirements while creating lasting benefits in the two countries. Earlier projects of BPIE and its partners have found significant gaps in expertise, awareness and ability to develop climate change strategies for the building sector. The project will thus increase exchange between Romania and Bulgaria and disseminate results in all of South East Europe, create capacity to strengthen NECPs, pursue policy coherence, contribute to common objectives, support effective governance, train national and local public officers and enable civil society and national stakeholders to proactively contribute to the NECPs.

Project poster

Presentation of the project. Foto: GIZ/EUKI

Currently, a guidance for public policy makers is being developed. It considers the changes of reporting requirements due to the new European legislation (the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, and in particular the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)). In addition, specific gaps and needs for setting up national long-term renovation strategies in Bulgaria and Romania are analysed and reflected in the guidance. Even though the guidance is in many ways tailored to public officers in Romania and Bulgaria, it is nevertheless easily adaptable to other European countries. The guidance will be published on BPIE’s website in early 2019. In the meantime, specific stakeholder consultations, trainings and local renovation strategies are being set up for selected target municipalities in Romania and Bulgaria.