How the Northeastern Bulgarian Town of Smyadovo Transforms into Modern Energy Efficient Settlement

Society » ENVIRONMENT | May 22, 2018, Tuesday // 12:45| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: How the Northeastern Bulgarian Town of Smyadovo Transforms into Modern Energy Efficient Settlement - Everyone in Smyadovo municipality is using solid fuel for heating. Of the usual 5-6 cubes of coal needed for an apartment in a apartment block for one winter, currently the amount of heating fuel has dropped to 1-2 cubes per household. There are also high-rise households that have not turned on the heating for a couple of years.

This is an exemplary case given by Mayor Ivanka Petrova about the effect of the energy efficiency plan implemented in the municipality, for which Smyadovo won the first year award in the category "energy efficiency of a small municipality" in the competition "Ecosystem of the French Embassy in Bulgaria .

Smyadovo is a very small municipality - of 7 thousand people, but also an "active municipality" as defined by the mayor. Local authorities use every opportunity, fund, and project they can apply for. Their budget is very limited and what they achieve is not just with their own money. "When we applied for the eco-system competition in the energy efficiency sector it turned out that we have done a lot of things for only 6-7 years of active work, many public buildings have been rehabilitated", explains the mayor.

At present, half of all Smyadovo buildings are rehabiliteted, with 25% of the population living there. "We were one of the first municipalities to deposit their documents for the National Rehabilitation Program," Petrova tells of the activities of the municipality.

90% of all public buildings are renovated. The school, the community center, the municipality were renovated. This saves large public resources. They have halved the fuel used in the municipality for example. They have already started to renovate the public buildings in the surrounding villages in the municipality. They have a long-term energy efficiency program and are constantly involved in all possible projects that can be applied for.

This leads to a rather serious economic resource that local government redirects to asphalting streets that have not been repaired for 30 years. Approximately BGN 50-60 thousand a year are saved by the municipality. This is related to fuel for heating - from naphtha to pellets. They also receive a wooden chips from the tree branches that are thrown away by the citizens, which will heat the cultural center.

They already have an idea to use a passive building, and it is due to announce a public procurement this year. It is going to be a day center for people with mental health problems.

They are also considering buying the first electric car that will serve them as a load-cleaning machine. They are going to change the street lighting with LED lighting for 200-300 thousand leva.

In order to convince the population to join the rehabilitation program, the mayor attended each of the meetings of the associations with the citizens of the municipality personally. "My presence was obligatory, I personally guaranteed that the program would happen, and I persuaded them that the energy program had to happen." These meetings take place a year before the local elections and the mayor is realistically aware of what he promises. "There were people with more financial resources who had done their own renovation, some of them refusing to participate in the general renovation of the buildings, but I explained to them that I would require documentation on how their own rehabilitation had been done, and if they did not provide such I would fine them, so everyone agreed, "she says.

According to the mayor, the change is visible: the city becomes a pleasant place to live. With this, the mayor and the settlement in Smyadovo explains the newly settled 35 Russian families, who continue to buy houses and settle, mostly retired people from the northern part of Russia who are engaged in growing vegetables and fruits.

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