EFFECT4buildings project partners and public building managers gain valuable experience in Viljandi, Tartu and Pärnu

From 27 to 29 August project "Effective Financing Tools for implementing Energy Efficiency in Buildings" (EFFECT4buildings) project partners met in Viljandi and Tartu cities in Estonia. The main purpose of the meeting was to further develop the financial tools and instruments and learn more about Estonia's experience in energy efficiency solutions and financing opportunities in public buildings.

"We have come a long way with the development of many tools and testing has already started. For some of the more complex tools, like Energy Performance contracting, Multi service contracts, Green leasing contracts this was a great opportunity to discuss next steps in the partnership. There is a great deal to learn from each other and the tools are improved by adding experiences. The tool development in the project will now continue as well as more testing. We have also started to make plans for regional trainings that will be done in each partner region during the spring," says Marit Ragnarsson from the EFFECT4buildings lead partner team.

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To learn more about Estonia's experience in energy efficiency solutions and financing opportunities project team visited several public buildings and objects in Viljandi, Tartu and Pärnu.  The first study visit was Rapla High School. "School is partly renovated and partly new school building. In architectural side it is very nice building and describes, how we, State Real Estate in Estonia, develop new school buildings. It is not typical energy efficiency project, it is a major renovation project, but the result is good, nice and energy efficient school building," says Reet Rehtsalu, EFFECT4buildings project partner from State Real Estate company.

Next study visit stop was private passive detached house in Viljandi. The house is a three-floors prefabricated wooden building with a heated floor area of 240 m2. Energy efficiency has been the core idea while planning and positioning the building in this location, which is reflected in the room layout and architectural solution. Building has thick cellulose insulation layer, thermally optimized large windows, ventilation with heat recovery and solar-thermal and PV-system. Energy Performance Certificate based on energy calculations is class A which meets energy efficiency requirements of nearly zero energy buildings. The house also complies with International Passive House requirements and was awarded as the "Most energy efficient prefabricated building of the year 2016", awarded by the Estonian Woodhouse Association.

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To learn more about Energy Performance Contract usage in public buildings, EFFECT4buildings project team visited kindergarten in Viljandi city. "It is typical Energy Performance and Multi Service Contract project. Owner of the building is local municipality - City of Viljandi. The main drivers are IAQ-problems - lack of ventilation, problems with lightening system, high energy demand for space heating etc. and surely lack of finances. Estonian first ESCO company AU Energiateenus did it very well – they built new ventilation and space heating system, change windows and insulate the envelope elements. To achieve energy goals, they even add the PV-system. Now municipality and ESCO-company are monitoring the energy consumption. Defiantly it is very good example how to do," says Reet Rehtsalu.

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Beside these study visits, EFFECT4buildings project team visited Paala High School in Viljandi, where the renovations work is almost done. To control and monitor energy consumption in school the web system will be used by mobile application form.

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Estonian National Museum was the first study visit for the second day on August 28 of EFFECT4buildings transnational working group meeting.  The Estonian National Museum building has impressive size and State Real Estate company was involved in the implementation of the project. Energy efficiency and clever solutions for humidity level control for museum expositions, lightening, heating and cooling is in the high level to reduce energy consumption and costs.

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Aura water park was another great example of the Energy Performance Contract model to restore ventilation and water circulation systems.

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Fortum district cooling station is the first district cooling solution in Baltics. In Tartu downtown district cooling is produced in the most efficient and natural way using Emajõgi river water. In months when the water in river is warmer, company use condensers to cool it. On the building solar panels are installed to produce electricity for the plant's own energy needs.

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In the framework of the EFFECT4buildings transnational working group meeting public building managers from Vidzeme Planning Region, Latvia, visited Estonia's largest solar power plant in Pärnu. Solar power plant is operating since July this year. Location for the solar power plant is the territory of previously wasted plot of land. Now the landfill has a new purpose to produce renewable energy and transfer produced electricity to power network in Pärnu city.

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About EFFECT4buildings:

EFFECT4buildings is implemented with the support from the EU funding Programme Interreg Baltic Sea Region (European Regional Development Fund) and Norwegian national funding. The aim of the project is to improve the capacity of public building managers in the Baltic Sea Region by providing them a comprehensive decision-making support toolbox with a set of financial instruments to unlock the investments and lower the risks of implementing energy efficiency measures in buildings owned by public stakeholders. For more information: http://www.effect4buildings.se