With a population of about 340 000 people, Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria. It is located in South Central Bulgaria on a total area of 100 sq. km.

Plovdiv is one of the oldest cities in Europe, famous for its cultural and historical heritage, and at the same time it is the most dynamically developing business and industrial center in southern Bulgaria.

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The building stock

There are about 250 municipal buildings in the city – schools, kindergartens, nurseries, administrative buildings, buildings with healthcare, cultural, and social functions, with a total built-up area of about 525,000 sq. m.

Most of the residential buildings in the city are energy-inefficient precast concrete residential buildings, constructed in the middle of the last century. During the last 10 years, new buildings have been constructed with a total built-up area of 27,800 sq. m., while observing the requirements for heat conservation.

The Municipality of Plovdiv has worked actively to improve the energy efficiency of the city’s public infrastructure. In the past few years a wide range of energy efficiency measures have been implemented under different programmes, funded by the national budget, the EU structural funds, the EEA states or under other international initiatives.

Technical measures:

  • Control devices (room thermostats, thermostatic valves, heat distributors, etc.)
  • Thermal insulation of external walls, roofs, floors and ceilings of buildings
  • Replacement or adjustment of joinery
  • Energy efficient optimization of the electrical installation
  • Improving the ventilation and air conditioning system
  • Rehabilitation / replacement of substations and hot water systems and heating as well as boilers of buildings;
  • Installation of speed control devices for fans and large pumps

Non-technical measures

  • Energy efficiency rental fee and other agreements with tenants,
  • technical measures (temperature on demand,
  • communication measures and advisory activities to reduce energy consumption through consumer behaviour.

Financing model

The public/municipal buildings in Plovdiv with a total built-up area of 208 000 sq. m. have been renovated with funding from various programmes such as the International Fund Kozloduy, National Trust EcoFund, the “Beautiful Bulgaria” project, Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014 as well as with the Municipality of Plovdiv’s own financial resources.

The National Programme for Energy Efficiency of Multi-Family Residential Buildings, a decentralized model was applied. Municipalities carry out acceptance of applications, evaluation, approval, provide funding, monitoring of the implementation of the measures for energy efficiency of buildings. Mayors are responsible for carrying out the whole process on the renovation of residential buildings, located on their municipal areas as well as for the selection of contractors under the public procurement act for implementing the separate activities on buildings.

Impact for the area

  • Heat costs reduction for the households
  • Improved residential infrastructure and change of the urban appearance creating warmer, cozy and nice homes and renovated common areas of the buildings;
  • Cleaner environment – saved green gas emissions (CO2, etc.);
  • Extending the life of the building.

Socio-economic impact

  • Establishing a business model with good practices for management of multi-family residential buildings;
  • Increasing public awareness of the various methods for improving the energy efficiency of residential buildings.
  • Increasing the business opportunities for designers, construction industry, companies for technical audits, companies for energy efficiency audits, materials’ producers, etc. including SMEs from all over the country leading to additional employment;
  • Raising the incomes of all economic entities, involved in the energy efficiency programmes – from external contractors, directly participating in project activities, to all companies – subcontractors, and servicing firms;
  • Increasing the tax revenues in the state budget in the form of both direct taxes – corporate tax (profit tax), income tax (paid by all workers and employees) and indirect taxes – VAT. This applies also to the revenues in the state budget in the form of social and health insurances for the hired at a certain company.

Main challenges

The attitude towards green policies must change and the green investments must not be opposed to social problems. Emphasis should be placed on their generally beneficial effects in the long run. People should be informed about the wider and long-term effects of environmental damage, including by showing the hidden costs that this damage is having for each person and for society as a whole.