From 31 May to 2 June, the Expo Centre “Flora” in Burgas brought together specialists, municipal representatives, speakers and guests for the three-day conference “Zero Energy Buildings: The Future is Now!”. The event addressed important topics related to the new building renovation programme, the renewable energy programme for households, and presented best practices, technologies and innovative concepts, with the main conclusion that emerged from the conference that the campaigning nature of the renovation programmes needs to stop.
The forum was joined by Dobromir Vassilev, Director of Housing Policy at the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, Executive Director of the Sustainable Energy Development Agency Eng. Ivaylo Alexiev, representatives of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Sources Fund, FLAG Fund, Bulgarian Industrial Association, University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy, Alliance for Energy Efficiency, Econoler, commercial banks, energy and financial consultants. There were also guest-speakers from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, the European Parliament and the European Investment Bank, as well as the US Department of Energy.
The conference in Burgas marked the transition from the hitherto familiar model of 100% financing of the renovation of the residential buildings in Bulgaria to mechanisms with owners’ self-participation. And although all specialists are convinced that co-financing is the most promising model for the implementation of these programs, the necessary structural conditions for its full implementation are still lacking.
At the conference it became clear that the successful renovation of buildings depends on a large number of factors. It is crucial to have the prerequisites in place to ensure high quality services. This is the only way to secure the participation of financial institutions and to convince citizens of the benefits of their investment. In addition, investments in knowledge and skills are needed to ensure the quality of building renovation.
Last but not least, the role of local authorities was highlighted as a key driver of green transformation, and parallel to the national conference, interesting and thematic seminars were held for highly qualified professionals and energy auditors as well as for building professionals. Participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the latest technological solutions that were presented at the accompanying exhibition and had the opportunity to see them implemented in EnEffect’s nearly zero-energy mobile house. This in turn sparked a lively interest among the children, who had the opportunity to become bio-navigators and make their own Martian or underwater city with the assistance of the School for Solar Specialists for the Children’s Day.