The Republic of Moldova uses a considerable amount of energy for heating, with the residential sector being the country’s major energy consumer (40% of the total final consumption volume), according to a study by the United Nations Development Programme.
Regardless of their technical conditions, over 70% of multi-storey residential blocks have a very low thermal performance – especially those built between 1950 and 1980. Thermal losses from buildings like these account for nearly 50% of total heat consumption in the Republic of Moldova.
To help residents and building owners in Republic of Moldova reduce energy consumption and bills, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has developed the Moldovan Residential Energy Efficiency Financing Facility (MoREEFF). The programme ran during 2012-2017 and provided loans to individuals and private companies for financing energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy projects in the Moldovan residential sector through credit lines offered to commercial banks participating in the programme.
Along with loans, MoREEFF stimulated the implementation of energy efficiency projects by offering a grant component funded by the EU and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The amount of the grant from the EU covered up to 35% of the loan amount.
The MoREEFF programme in action
On the outskirts of the city of Bălți there is a relatively new apartment block, commissioned in 2015, which houses 90 apartments. Built by the Marsharcon firm, the company sought funding from the MoREEFF programme to improve the building’s energy performance.
Marsharcon received a €372,987 loan from MobiasBanca bank through the MoREEFF programme. The loan was used to install high-performance, double-glazed PVC windows with Low-E glass; double- 100 mm EPS wall insulation; floor insulation; high-efficiency gas boilers; room thermostats; and thermostatic radiators.
“It is a very warm building,” Boris Marcoci, head of Marsharcon, shares. “It is heated from the outside with 10 cm of polystyrene, in accordance with European standards and requirements.”
He adds that the support received through the MoREEFF programme was very helpful, especially the 35% grant from the EU. “We were very happy at the time, that they helped us. The grant was welcome and the residents are very happy today. The heat in the apartments is maintained very well and there is even thermal insulation on the first floor ground.”
Energy efficiency means not only increased heat, but also lower costs
According to Boris, the measures taken to increase the energy efficiency of the building have made it possible to achieve about 30-40% savings in heat expenses.
“We compared it with another apartment block, which is insulated with 5 cm polystyrene and has less energy-efficient windows,” Boris says. “The gas consumption for heating in that block is higher.”
Thanks to these investments in energy efficiency – as well as more accessible property prices – the sale of the apartments was faster than normal as well.
Ana Tudos, a young mother with a new baby, shares her experience of living in one of the apartments. “It is warm enough,” she says. “We have been living here for a year and a half. We have a small child and we are feeling very good. We can adjust the heat to our liking.”
“People are satisfied,” Igor Malarciuc, the president of the building’s tenants association agrees. “The double-glazed windows are a visible example of the energy efficiency measures, as well as the outside polystyrene insulation with mineral wool. Even when we have the boiler working at the minimum, it is very hot.”
“While in other apartment blocks about 2,000 lei are spent on heat per apartment, here 1300 lei maximum are spent during the cold seasons of the year,” Igor estimates.
As well as benefitting the tenants, the Marsharcon firm also received an investment grant of €129,651 through the MoREEFF programme once construction on the apartment block had finished and been approved.
A cleaner environment, for long-term
Over its lifetime, the MoREEFF programme had a strong impact across the Republic of Moldova. “2,035 sub-loans were offered, amounting to €6.8 million,” Nadejda Litvac, principal banker at EBRD Moldova, explains. “It was possible to grant loans to private individuals as well as projects at building level.”
The most demanded investments included loans for energy efficient windows with a total value of over €3.5 million. Loans for hot water gas boilers amounted to €1.4 million. More than €1 million was allocated for wall, floor and roof insulation, as well as solar water heating systems, biomass boilers and other energy efficient heating systems.
In total, the projects funded by MoREEFF helped save about 17000 MWh per year, which is enough to heat water for 850 million cups of tea or drive a car for 25 million kilometres. Carbon dioxide emissions were also reduced by about 3,200 tonnes, which is the quantity absorbed by a forest of 118,000 trees.
The European Union has repeatedly supported the increase of energy efficiency in the Republic of Moldova over the years and continues to do so. Programmes such as MoREEFF, as well as other EU-funded projects, are focused on helping the country to achieve energy efficiency objectives and, in particular, encourage investments that support sustainable energy conservation and the production of energy out of renewable sources. Energy efficiency projects help people reduce their bills, as well as energy consumption, while building a cleaner, healthier and friendlier environment.
Author: Adriana Vlas