RENATE SCHINDLBECK: Serbia Is A Regional Leader in the Field of Energy Efficiency in Building Design and Construction

Foto: EP

The final conference of the project ‘Advisory services in the field of energy efficiency in buildings’ was held at the beginning of March. The project Manager, Mrs. Renate Schindlbeck said that significant results were achieved during nine years, and Serbia has managed to position itself as the leader in the field of energy efficiency in buildings in the region of Western Balkans.

At the conference, it was said that Serbia today has 1,600 licensed engineers for energy efficiency, and from the day of passing the Law on Energy Efficiency, 1,500 green passports have been issued. Copydesk of Energetski portal was at the conference held by GIZ at the Metropole Hotel in Belgrade in autumn 2016. The kick off meeting with the representatives of municipalities regarding the project for the improvement of energy efficiency in public buildings was then held. We talked to Mrs. Renata Schindlbeck about these activities for our “Energy Efficiency” bulletin.

EP: Can you tell us more about your impressions from the GIZ conference?

Renate Schindlbeck: At the meeting in the Metropole Hotel, we had an ambitious plan to get data on all public buildings in Serbia. We actually wanted to see how many such facilities there are, because we didn’t have any clear answer. Then, we started with our activities. We exclusively needed energy data. That was the goal of the kick off meeting in fall last year. The main focus was on schools and kindergartens, but we said – Ok maybe we should process the data on other buildings too. We didn’t ask for details, but we needed at least basic information, whether we are talking about 5,000 or 50,000 public buildings. We still do not have the final number because the data are being processed. We had a great response of municipalities in all this. We had a really great collaboration. Our team of experts now has all the details. The second step was to gather and process the data from all schools and after that to develop a typology. Roughly speaking, most of the schools were built in the 70’s and 80’s of the 20th century. The most important thing in all of this was to obtain the information on energy situation and to make typology.

EP: Can you tell us at this point how much work has been completed so far and when will all data be collected and processed?

Renate Schindlbeck: Everything is collected and it is literally put in boxes. And now comes the biggest part of the job to do the evaluation and to analyze all the research from the field. Also, we must do cross-check, because there are times when you come to all wrong data. Then we make a data bank and typology that I have already mentioned. That should end in summer.

EP: What do you expect to happen after summer? Does GIZ invest in energy efficiency or it just collects data and analyzes the real situation in municipalities?

Renate Schindlbeck: Our development agency has ‘two legs’ or ‘two pillars’. One pillar represents financial cooperation and the other one is technical support. Financial cooperation is achieved through the operation of KfW Bank and GIZ represents technical assistance and provides support in this regard. The project we are talking about is under the auspices of DKTI – German Climate Technology Initiative, and financial assistance will arrive in 30 schools. Restauration of these facilities will be performed. We actually provide analysis for these strategic decisions. All this is implemented in cooperation with our main partner in Serbia and that is the Ministry of Mining and Energy of the Republic of Serbia. Our task is to advise municipalities. In the first project, which was presented in March, we processed data on residential buildings Now, we move on, each municipality should improve energy efficiency in public buildings. We should give them concrete recommendations: this will cost that much, do these measures and so on.

EP: Were there such projects in the region, and whether you were personally involved?

Renate Schindlbeck: What we are doing now is a pilot project. Cooperation between GIZ and the Ministry of Mining and Energy is the first project of this kind.

EP: What was the condition that you found and what was your impression on Serbian municipalities and public buildings in them?

Renate Schindlbeck: There is never enough investment – everything comes to that conclusion in the end. In Germany, one can conclude that much has been done, but there can always be much more, because energy efficiency is an investment in the future and it is never finished. You invest, and the money soon comes back and then you start to save. Thus, it is necessary to invest, and the question is not whether it is enough or not. Enough for all of us will be when we all move 100% to renewable energy and when there are no CO2 emissions. Perhaps the most important on the tong-term plan for us is to reduce CO2 emissions. If we are talking about this field, I was impressed when I came in June 2014. Everything was set on solid foundations, typology of houses was done, etc. That project will be replicated in other countries in the Balkans. I am an architect and I must say that this part of the job was done perfectly. Typology was made in this segment.

Photo – illustration: Pixabay

EP: What will be your main recommendation when it comes to public buildings, what will you suggest?

Renate Schindlbeck: We’ll have to perceive the entire facilities. We have architectural measures that we will propose, but also the ones regarding the technical equipping. Of course, we want to increase energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. We will analyze whether the house faces south or north, or maybe insulation is needed, in what way it is heated and cooled. We will check the technical equipment, we will try to find the way to use renewable energy sources. This is the approach to these issues.

EP: Can you give us an example from Germany in which public buildings are energy efficient and schools and kindergartens operate in the manner to which we aspire in Serbia?

Renate Schindlbeck: In Germany, we have some villages which are completely ‘passive’, both private homes and public buildings. All those settlements completely switched to renewable energy and now we have one ‘bio’ village. Essen as the European Green Capital for 2017 is a good example. But I must also say that Frankfurt has a serious strategy when it comes to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. According to EU directive from 2018 all new facilities that are being built must be ‘passive’, and that is our certain future and the way we move. The obligation will be for all cities and villages to be absolutely energy efficient.

EP: Who were your business and strategic partners, with which institutions do you implement such a comprehensive project?

Renate Schindlbeck: University of Belgrade is a very important partner. Faculties such as Mechanical engineering, Electrical Engineering and Architecture are involved in the development of typology based on the obtained data. UNDP is our international partner with whom we have a memorandum on cooperation.

They also participate in the development of software which is used in the Centre for energy managers in training. It is very important to encourage the progress in your country.

Interview by: Vesna Vukajlović

This interview was fisrt published in our bulleting “Energy Efficiency” in April 2017.