How to Make Buildings More Energy Efficient? | World Bank Institute (WBI)

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  • Energy efficiency measures can reduce energy costs in public buildings by 40%.
  • Energy efficiency helps tackling climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The World Bank Institute supports energy practitioners in South-East Europe to scale up and improve energy efficiency programs.


February 28, 2012—
Western Balkan countries use more energy than countries in the European Union to heat a school of the same size or produce the same clothes. The main reason is that energy is not produced and used in an efficient way.  Most electricity meters and heating and cooling systems for buildings in the Western Balkans were built during the 1960s and 1970s and since then they have not been well maintained.

As a result, today’s energy consumption in countries like Albania, Bosnia, FYR MacedoniaKosovo, Serbia, and Montenegro has increased significantly.  Around 40% of the overall energy consumption in these countries comes from electricity used in public, commercial, and residential buildings.

Most countries have made progress in promoting energy efficiency through laws and regulations. Meeting energy efficiency standards is also important as part of their European Union accession process. But real energy savings have been sparse. Lack of data and difficulties to access finance for energy efficiency investments have been some of the main reasons.

Cost Savings through Energy Efficiency
Because of low subsidized energy prices and few individual meters, there is also no incentive for consumers to make public buildings and private homes more energy efficient. And yet, energy efficiency is important for several reasons: it reduces overall energy costs, makes countries’ economically more competitive, and creates new jobs in technologically advanced sectors. Beyond that, energy efficiency mitigates climate change effects by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

open-quotesOur courses and trainings on climate friendly energy efficiency in South-East Europe are problem-oriented and help professionals understand how to address concrete challenges in the energy sector and how to seize opportunities.close-quotesSamira Elkhamlichi, WBI Climate Change Specialist.

Serbia, for example, has recognized the potential of cost savings through energy efficient measures. “We have successfully completed the first phase of the World Bank supported Serbia Energy Efficiency Project that achieved on average 40% of energy savings,” said Milos Banjac, Assistant Minister at the Serbian Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy. Most of these energy savings came from better roof insulation and the replacement of windows and doors at public hospitals and schools.

The benefits of energy efficiency seem obvious to the government, but professionals such as architects, building contractors, and energy auditors are often not trained on what can be done to increase energy efficiency. The World Bank Institute (WBI) helps to build the capacity of such professionals to improve energy efficiency programs in support of the larger World Bank projects.

WBI Offers Learning Programs and e-Courses on Energy Efficiency
“Our courses and trainings on climate friendly energy efficiency in South-East Europe are problem-oriented and help professionals understand how to address concrete challenges in the energy sector and how to seize opportunities,’” says Samira Elkhamlichi, WBI Climate Change Specialist responsible for the energy learning program.

A recent workshop in Vienna, Austria from February 7-9, 2012 covered topics, including energy diagnostics, auditing, budgeting, financing, and planning for energy efficient programs. Participants from Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia learned about energy efficiency requirements that South-East European countries need to comply with as part of their accession process to the European Union.

“Given the fact that most of the participants came from South-East European countries that are all aiming at joining the European Union, it is important to mention that this workshop provided an opportunity for us to be informed about the recent developments in the region when it comes to energy efficiency policies and learn from each other’s experiences,” said Lirie Berisha, Head of the Housing and Construction Department at the Environment Ministry in Kosovo said. “I was particularly interested and glad to hear from the representatives of local government units who presented their experiences.”

“I always get something new and useful from WBI trainings and seminars. This time it was about tackling financial barriers that added value to the entire training, as well as useful information I receive about e-learning courses. Networking is something that goes without saying when WBI is delivering trainings,” said Miodrag Gluscevic, Head of the Department for Communal Services, Urban Planning and Environment from the Serbian Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities.

A Special Approach to Learning
It is this combination that makes WBI’s approach different from others: relevant and cutting-edge learning content within a setting that includes different stakeholders and allows for networking and knowledge exchange between countries. In practice sessions, participants can come up with innovative solutions and ideas that work in their home countries. In addition, open knowledge sources like the e-Institute offer courses on climate change and energy efficiency, which are helpful tools to increase a common understanding on innovative approaches for local practitioners.


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