Slashing energy costs in Bratislava with EBRD finance

The EBRD-financed SlovSEFF programme introduces energy efficiency to Bratislava’s residential buildings.

Forty-three families living in building 22 in the Valley of Roses street (Ružová dolina) in Bratislava, the Slovak Republic’s capital, are beaming with delight about energy efficiency improvements to their flats. The building was constructed in 1962 and previously had its energy supplied by a central district heating source through a heat exchanger station serving five residential buildings. Residents had no control of their energy usage and flats were often over- or under-heated. After installing temperature thermometers in each of the 43 flats in 2005, residents decided to make further improvements to their flats.

SlovSEFF

In 2009 the Apartment Owner Association (AOA) approached Všeobecná úverová banka to request financing for energy efficiency improvements. The bank is one of five participating banks in the Slovak Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (SlovSEFF), a scheme established by the EBRD in 2007 to finance sustainable energy investments in the Slovak Republic. Loans between €20,000 and €2,500,000, as well as grants of between 7.5 and 15.0 per cent of the total loan amount and free technical assistance are available through local banks for private companies and housing associations implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Energy audit

Stanislav Hasenöhrl, the chairman of the AOA, has lived in building 22 for over 50 years and knew all too well what needed to be done: “We needed to improve the heating system and insulate the exterior walls to bring temperatures in the building to normal levels,” he says.

These were also the findings of an energy audit by the SlovSEFF technical team. The energy audit, which is free of charge for clients, confirms the eligibility of such investments under SlovSEFF and the energy savings expected through the investment. With €197,000 in financing from the local bank and €10,000 in savings from the residents themselves, AOA was able to hire the civil engineering company Hochbau and make improvements to all flats. The company insulated walls, replaced old windows and doors, rebuilt new insulated balconies and installed a heat exchanger to service building 22 only.

Elena Bašková and her husband live on the top floor of building 22. “My flat was either very hot during summer or very cold during winter. Thanks to energy efficiency improvements we now look forward to the change of seasons and no longer dread extreme temperatures,” she says.

Reducing energy bills

Since the investment, and in spite of rising energy prices in the Slovak Republic, residents have seen their energy bills and consumption per flat halved. Whereas at the start of the project a family’s average annual heating bill was about €1,000, it is now as low as €400. Savings achieved contribute towards paying the loan from the local bank.

Over 400 residential projects have benefited so far from the Slovak Sustainable Energy Financing Facility.