Report on Nordic solutions to improve energy efficiency in buildings – now available!

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Applying Nordic Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solutions in Kaliningrad Oblast

Baltic Development Forum acts as the Lead Partner of RENSOL project, “Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solutions in Kaliningrad Oblast”. The project was started with the identification of feasible energy efficient and renewable energy solutions in Nordic countries that could also be adapted to Kaliningrad region. Possibilities to improve housing energy efficiency have been studied by researchers of Lappeenranta University of Technology in co-operation with Environmental Center ECAT-Kaliningrad and Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University. Findings of our research are now published in the research report “Applying Nordic energy efficiency solutions Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia” both in English and in Russian.

Technically there are proved solutions available that can be used for improvements. Therefore it is important to have a clear plan on renovations that will be done, so correct technical solutions can be selected for the building. Also the forthcoming changes (e.g. improved district heat availability) should be asked from the municipality, as they affect feasibility of different technical solutions.

In wider scope, the most affecting solutions are not just technical, but also financial and political as they help the implementation of energy efficient technical solutions. Some examples are the use of two-circuit district heat systems where possible and the use of heat pump systems in areas without the district heat availability. Also practical guidance and motivation (e.g. advertisement campaigns) are needed for selection and use of energy efficient alternatives.

Two buildings were technically studied in the report. Renovation proposals were formed for both buildings according to site inspections, heat loss simulations and interviews. In both cases improvement of heating system operation, ventilation and insulation are seen important factors to improve both housing energy efficiency and quality of living. As the insulation-related façade renovations tend to be costly, easier improvements are related to the improvement of heating system operation with the installation of new radiators with thermostats and for instance the replacement of old windows. Also electricity consumption in buildings can be effectively improved by changing lamps and electrical appliances to energy efficient ones.

Of the studied renewable energy solutions, heat pumps are seen as a feasible solution to buildings having direct electric heating systems. As an example, separate electric water boilers could be replaced with a centralized solution where a sun collector or a heat pump is used to heat water instead of direct electric heating. However, the feasibility of heat pumps and other technical solutions for improving the building energy efficiency is case-dependent, which requires comparison of different solutions. Also the forthcoming changes in the municipal services should be considered here, as the improvement of district heat availability in municipal area can for instance notably change the feasibility of having a new water heating system in the building. Therefore, long-term renovation planning should also have dialogue with municipal level and their close involvement in the case of public buildings.
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