On October 8, specialists gathered at the wooden building renovation center “Wooden Rīga” in Latvia to discuss instruments guaranteeing the implementation of energy efficiency measures, as well as to talk about low temperature district heating. The seminar was organized within the framework of the projects “EFFECT4buildings” and “LowTEMP” implemented by Vidzeme planning region in the frame of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014-2020.
The Building Preservation and Energy Saving Office introduced the energy efficiency service contract, which in other countries of the Baltic Sea region is called EPC (Energy Performance Contract). It is a long-term contract with a company/contractor or energy efficiency service provider. The contract is signed to implement energy efficiency measures in the building with guaranteed energy savings and to reduce the risk of unsuccessful renovation of the building when the construction work in the building does not achieve the expected effect. In turn, a Multi-service contract is used in cases where there is a need to integrate common benefits in existing buildings or in the construction of new buildings, which can also be part of an energy efficiency service contract. Common benefits can include lighting quality, indoor air temperature, indoor air quality, noise levels, aesthetic values, and more. The multi-service contract includes guarantees that the parameters included in the contract will be achieved even after the end of the construction process, which may motivate building owners and residents to make greater investments in energy efficiency. The gathered experts discussed how to implement these agreements in the Latvian situation. You can find out more about these types of contracts and other financial instruments on the EFFECT4buildings website.
After getting acquainted with the experience of implementing low temperature district heating in Vidzeme region, Latvia, participants looked at the strategy developed within the LowTEMP project. The strategy aims at the transition to a low temperature heating system, which would reduce the heat tariff. It has been successfully implemented in the Palsmane village in Smiltene municipality. In the discussion on which system to choose – centralized or decentralized – it was concluded that it is often more advantageous to centralize the heating system. The key challenge is to make it customer friendly.
“We can observe that the local governments of Vidzeme Planning Region are becoming more and more competent in environmental and energy issues, where they take over the best practices and implement innovative solutions within the framework of various international projects. Currently, some municipalities use the principles of the EPC agreement and become productive consumers by, for example, installing solar panels”
– Jānis Ikaunieks, energy efficiency expert in the Vidzeme planning region
In the following section, the energy manager of Gulbene municipality presented practical experience and results of the transformation of the heat supply system to a low temperature system in the village of Beļava during LowTEMP. They also shared their recent experience in installing solar panels on the roof of a municipality council building and the challenges of installing such a solution in a public building. Also, within the framework of the project Act Now, the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan until 2030 has been developed for Gulbene municipality. The participants were introduced to the goals of Gulbene municipality toreduce energy consumption in municipal buildings and equipment by 20% and in the housing sector by 5% by 2030 as well as to reduce CO2 emissions by 16% compared to 2015.
A representative of the Riga Technical University’s Institute of Energy Systems and Environment, who developed the energy plan of Gulbene municipality, emphasized the great importance of energy management and energy plan in any municipality. While presenting the European City Facility (EUCF), which offers funding to local authorities to promote the implementation of energy and climate action plans, she called each municipality to find innovative solutions that are suitable for them.
At the end of the seminar, the specialists of the wooden building renovation center “Koka Rīga” demonstrated the most important aspects of the renovation of sustainable wooden buildings.
Prepared by: Rūta Ročāne, Communications manager, Vidzeme Planning Region