eCentral: Energy Efficient Public Buildings in Central Europe

The project "Energy efficient public buildings in Central Europe" (eCentral) focuses on the energy efficiency of public buildings and the implementation of measures to increase their efficiency. The goal is to show that the approach to renovation and construction of public buildings in accordance with the directions of nZEB (nearly zero-energy buildings) standards is often an optimal and cost-effective long-term solution.

This endeavor follows the EU´s Energy Efficiency Directive and Energy Performance Building Directive, which will require implementation of the standards for nearly zero energy buildings (nZEB) in every renovation or construction of public buildings from year 2019.

Within the project, we will carry out various analyzes and develop tools, which are going to provide significant insights into the current condition of buildings and investment potentials. Various training programs will support the development of new skills/knowledge of civil servants in constructors of public nZEB projects.

Additionally, innovative financing schemes for the renovation of public buildings will be tested: energy efficiency contracting, public-private partnership and crowdfunding and the collected funds will be used for energy renovation of public buildings in three pilot regions Velenje, Sveta Nedelja (Croatia) and Budapest (Hungary). We expect that the results of these pilot projects will give a clearer answer to the cost optimization of the nZEB and improve the quality of the available data.

Based on pilot projects and implemented project activities, a common strategy for spreading the best practice examples of innovative financing schemes in Central Europe will be developed.

The official start of the project was on 01.09.2017 and will last until the end of February 2021. The Lead Project Partner is Regional Energy Agency of the North-West Croatia, followed by a consortium of additional eight project partners from five EU countries (Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Austria in Hungary).

The eCentral project is financed by the European Union funding programme Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE. The total project budget is EUR 2,676,235.61 EUR. Municipality of Velenje as project partner will manage the amount of EUR 194,161.90, from which 85% are co-financed by the EU and 15% by the Municipality of Velenje.

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Additional information about the Program

The Interreg Program was launched in 1990 as a cornerstone of the EU Cohesion Policy. The Program provides a framework for the implementation of collective actions and policy exchanges between actors in different Member States. In the past years, the Interreg has evolved and expanded, especially its budget and focus, and currently, comprehends three different types of programs: cross-border, transnational and interregional. For the programing period, 2014-2020, a total budget of 10.1 billion € is foreseen and the investment priorities range from research and innovation, information and communication technologies, competitiveness of SMEs, to low-carbon economy, combating climate change, environment and resource efficiency, sustainable transport, employment and mobility, social inclusion, education and training and better public administration.

The Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE has an available budget of 246 million € and it is part of the Interreg Transnational Cooperation Program with a total budget 2.1 billion €. Its geographical scope comprehends Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. The Program’s funding priorities are innovation to increase competitiveness, low carbon strategies, natural and cultural resources for sustainable growth and transport for better connection.