Improving energy efficiency in the residential sector
In April 2015 USAID and Habitat Macedonia finalized the complex, four component project aimed at improving energy efficiency in the residential sector.
Over the last four years the project helped families living in collective apartment buildings create more comfortable living spaces while reducing their household energy consumption and its related costs. Energy efficient upgrades were applied to 35 collective apartment buildings in seven municipalities, directly supporting more than 700 homeowners.
The project also developed and tested a variety of financial models including lending to individual homeowners, specialized companies and microfinance institutions for particularly segmented groups. In working with each building it was also necessary to strengthen the capacities of the homeowner associations to manage and maintain their properties.
When this project was started, the average household energy consumption per unit of GDP in Macedonia was 4 times higher than the average in developed European countries. The energy audits, performed by the project, confirmed that the renovated building’s annual energy consumption for heating may be reduced by as much as 40 percent. Those savings basically pay back investors within just a few years.
While USAID and Habitat Macedonia are proud of this achievement, we know that there are many more families who could benefit. For this purpose, we have explored a variety of alternative ways to fund energy efficient renovations in collective housing beyond the life of this project. In parallel to the project created Residential Energy Efficiency Revolving Fund that will continue with operation, the partners concluded that the sustainable models will require a consistent policy framework and financing mechanisms, carefully coordinated by the government, international and local development agencies and socially motivated investors.