Monday, 21 June 2021

Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP) to be First Nearly Zero Energy Building in Croatia

June 21, 2021 - An exciting new step for Croatian energy efficiency is happening at the Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP), as the Institute makes significant changes to its building which will also help to educate other experts for energy efficiency.

As the Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP) gave great support and input in REPLACE Project that brings energy efficiency to Rijeka and Kvarner region, just put a new log in Croatian energetic efficiency. The start of June saw the contract for granting non-returnable funds for founding nZEB- the National Training Center on Nearly Zero Energy Buildings, EIHP reported on its website. The project is financed from the „Energy and Climate Change“ Fund, part of the Financial Mechanisms 2014 – 2021 in Croatia, courtesy of the European Economic Area (EEA).

1,600,000 Euros is the total value of this project on which EIHP collaborates with the Faculty of Civil Engineering, University of Zagreb. The goal is to empower all the actors in reconstructing buildings to meet the nZEB standard.

With the center being established in the building of the Požar Institute undergoing reconstruction at the moment, it will be a vivid example of the modern technologies that are implemented in nZEB design.

„We will show and share with the widest professional community the solutions that will be developed through this project. The whole process of reconstruction will be followed and documented, and detailed, and serve as an example in the training program as the Institute becomes the first public building in Croatia reconstructed in such a manner. With the appliance of green energy technologies (electrification of heating and cooling systems with a crane that uses shallow geothermal source, integrated photo charged electric plant on the roof, energy containers, efficient lighting), we also wish to include E-mobility, which is certainly the future of traffic as well as accomplish complete digitalization of all technical systems the building is using. That way, the building will be the showcase example of the double transition – green and digital“; said the EIHP headmaster, Dražen Jakšić.

Jakšić attended the signing of the contract, along with the regional development Minister Nataša Tramišak, Norwegian Ambassador Haakon Blankenburg (as Norway also supports the Financial Mechanisms 2014 – 2021), Ministry secretary of economy and sustainable growth dr. Mario šiljeg, and the Faculty of Civil Engineering dean dr. Stjepan Lakušić.

„After this pandemic, we will not develop by repeating the things from before. A historical change is afoot, and we will meet it with green development and with new 'Green Deal'“, concluded Jakšić while Minister Tramišak also pointed out that securing financial mechanisms for advanced technologies and energy renewal.

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Wednesday, 26 May 2021

REPLACE Project from Horizon Europe: Third Primorska-Goranska County Renewable Energy Meeting Held in Rijeka

May 26, 2021 - With Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP) being the lead partner, the REPLACE Project from Horizon Europe steadily continues the progress of renewable energy for the Kvarner region.

Earlier in January, TCN wrote about Croatian energy development, whose goal is to be based on clean technologies. And that it's not all empty talk, as shown by the third meeting of a local workgroup enrolled in the REPLACE Project. As Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP) reports on its website, the REPLACE Project has a goal of supporting European energetic, climate, environmental, economic, and social goals with the deadline until 2030 and 2050.

As part of the OBZOR 2020 (Horizon Europe) EU program for research and innovations in the 2014-2020 time frame, the REPLACE Project receives EU funding. Twelve partners from nine countries participate in the project, and EIHP is in charge of the project activities in Primorska-Goranska county. In support of European goals, the plan of REPLACE Project is to gradually switch the current ineffective and outdated heating and cooling systems with new efficient systems which rely on renewable energy.

The meeting held at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Rijeka saw Dražen Balić, Antonia Tomas Stanković, and Lea Leopoldović from EIHP hold lectures presenting results of the first period of the project, but also the plans for future activities. The accent was put on implementing campaigns and collective actions supported by the members of the local workgroup. Energetic poverty, gender aspects, and „lock-in effect“ (an economic practice, where a company makes it extremely hard for their customers to leave them, even if the customer wants to) are the obstacles the project runners are aware of and were explained in greater detail. Another thing that stood out in the presentation was the presentation „Technology of Blue Energy in Croatia“, which presented modern technologies used in heating and cooling in coastal areas, and applicable to the Primorska -Goranska county.

Key institutions in the regions such as REA Kvarner (regional energy agency), Energo Rijeka (gas and heat energy provider), representatives of the Primorska-Goranska county, OIE Hrvatska (The economic-interest association The Renewable Energy Sources of Croatia - RES), and Rijeka Consumer Centre were present at the meeting, showing that the motivation to bring energy efficiency in Primorska-Goranska County is in its full strength. Both on corporal, political, and expert levels. 

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Saturday, 5 September 2020

Tender for Energy Renewal of Croatian Family Homes Coming Soon

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 4th of September, 2020, the conditions for co-financing of the energy renewal of Croatian family homes will be the same as this year, and citizens will be able to receive up to 60 percent of the incentives for thermal insulation, roof repairs, new carpentry, and the installation of systems for the use of renewable energy sources.

After receiving 7,386 applications from citizens for co-financing the energy renovation of Croatian family homes, the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency recently announced the continuation of the programme in 2021. "Given the expressed interest in this programme, the Fund will announce a new Public Invitation worth around 200 million kuna in the first quarter of next year," announced the Fund's director Sinisa Kukic.

As previously stated, the conditions for co-financing will be the same as this year, and citizens will be able to receive up to 60 percent of the incentives for thermal insulation, roof repairs, new carpentry, and the installation of systems for the use of renewable energy sources. Given that documentation such as the energy certificate and the energy audit report is valid for several years, the Fund says that it will continue to be acceptable during the next call.

Almost 70 percent of the 7,386 requests received by the Fund in this year's public call are for the renovation of Croatian family homes that are energy class E and worse. Such houses consume up to four times more energy than today's construction standard. Most of them were built back in the 70s and 80s, when technical regulations didn't require the installation of thermal protection. The oldest house registered for renovation was built in 1850, and is one of about 20 houses built in the 19th century for which co-financing was requested. Over time, such Croatian family homes have become even more dilapidated, so energy renovation measures will improve their energy performance and their visual impression, and will also provide them with comfort and a healthier situation when within the premises.

The Fund will soon publish a public call for co-financing the use of renewable energy sources for the production of heat and/or cooling energy in households. Citizens will thus not have at their disposal 30 million kuna for the installation of biomass boilers, heat pumps and thermal solar collectors, and they can, depending on the area where the facility is located, count on 40 to 80 percent of the co-financing, or a maximum of 75,000 kuna.

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Friday, 7 June 2019

European Union Affirms Energy Transition of Croatian Islands

As Morski writes on the 7th of June, 2019, the European Commission (EC) has recognised the value of the energy transition of European islands in 2019, in line with the Clean Energy for the EU islands initiative, the foundation of which can be credited to Croatian MEP, Tonino Picula.

The relevant text from the European Commission states quite specifically that there is a great potential for investing in wind and solar energy and energy from renewable sources for heating and cooling. Promoting such investments could increase the energy self-sustainability of Croatian islands, in line with the Clean Energy Initiative for the European Union's islands.

''I was very pleased to receive the news of additional affirmation and support for the European island transition policy, which was announced today by the European Commission. It's a confirmation that there is room for completely new initiatives and programs for raising the quality of life of EU citizens,'' said Tonino Picula, who will begin his third term in the European Parliament at the beginning of July this year.

He stressed that such clear support to the program, as has been strongly expressed by the European Commission, would be an additional argument to see an increase the European Comission Secretariat's budget to more than one hundred million euros during the next budget period.

Among the list of items in the European Commission's focus are investment policy on research and innovation, sustainable urban and rail transport, energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and environmental infrastructure, all of which are clearly highlighted, taking into account regional differences and increasing the capacity of the competent bodies to realise and implement public projects and policies, which Picula has often emphasised in all of his recent criticisms of the current capacity of Croatian institutions to properly carry out this demanding job.

Picula, along with his colleagues in the European Parliament, initiated the need for the adoption of a resolution on the special situation of the islands, which the European Parliament quickly recognised as the need to adopt special policies relating to islanders and their lives, given that they are often greatly different to that of people living on the mainland.

To briefly recall, as many as ten Croatian islands, out of a total of fifty of the country's inhabited islands, are participating in energy transition pilot projects, which makes Croatia the most successful member of the EU in this competition.

Cres, Ilovik, Lošinj, Male Srakane, Susak, Unije, Velike Srakane and Brač, Hvar and Korčula have been enabled to prepare for the use of renewable energy sources, which will help these islands to better preserve the environment and raise the quality of life of their inhabitants.

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Monday, 18 March 2019

Energetic Transition Process Begins on Croatian Islands

The Clean Energy Secretariat on EU islands held an energy transition workshop attended by representatives from the Croatian islands of Brač, Cres, Hvar, Korčula and Lošinj last week.

As Morski writes on the 18th of March, 2019, Croatian islands officially launched an energetic transition up and down the coast. Back at the beginning of February this year, the Secretariat's initiative for clean energy for the EU's islands, which was initiated by the Croatian MEP Tonino Picula, announced a list of 26 European island communities that will receive expert and advisory support for the energy transition strategy in the coming period, writes Pokret otoka (Island movement).

Among the 26 selected islands are four Croatian island communities: The Cres-Lošinj archipelago and Brač, Hvar and Korčula. The two-day workshop, organised with the cooperation of the cities of Cres and Mali Lošinj, the OTRA Island Development Agency, LAG Kvarner Islands and Pokret otoka (Island movement) as local partners, gathered forty representatives of selected islands that, with expert assistance, will set the first foundations of energy transition plans. The gathering took place last weekend and this is the first of a total of ten workshops which will be carried out by the Secretariat for the EU islands in the forthcoming period.

Representatives of transition teams from all five islands participated in the workshop in Mali Lošinj, which will work on strategy development in cooperation with partners and experts in the coming period. The goal of the two-day workshop, besides transferring knowledge and experiences from different areas, has also been gathering, networking and strengthening the island's stakeholders for further cooperation in the energy transition process.

The Cres-Lošinj archipelago, set as one of the six European pilot projects, should have its energy transition plan should be ready by the end of summer 2019. The remaining twenty islands, including Brač, Hvar and Korčula, will have their plans in place by 2020. Despite the abundance of renewable energy sources, many islands currently depend on fossil fuels and energy imports from the mainland. The transition to clean energy can help the islands not only become more self-reliant and prosperous, but also open up new opportunities for employment in their communities and encourage further direct development of the islands.

The other islands that will be pilot projects in the initiative are the Irish Islands, Sifnos in Greece, Salina in Italy, La Palma in Spain and Culatra in Portugal. Twenty other islands will follow their development and enjoy the suppor of experts in the same direction. An expert team of the Secretariat for the islands will produce guides to initiate energy transition, encourage community involvement and discuss project financing in the forthcoming period.

Croatian islanders will have the opportunity to cooperate with each other, create a network of good practices, educate themselves and and participate in various events. It is important to emphasise the fact that the whole initiative is based on the "bottom up" approach, and the primary principle of transition success is based on the involvement of all local community stakeholders, which include the representatives of local self-government units, entrepreneurs, educational institutions, and of course civic initiatives.

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Click here for the original article by Ana Marija Jakas for Pokret otoka (Island movement)

Monday, 3 December 2018

Croatian Company Based in Vukovar Experiences Continued Success

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 3rd of December, 2018, over the past five years, ENNA has become a regionally recognisable Croatian company, strongly positioned in the field of energy, logistics, distribution and infrastructure, making a name for itself as a very serious, integrated logistic operator unique in the region.

While news about the emigration from Croatia and especially from Slavonia continues to depress the masses everyday, for the Vukovar-based Energia naturalis group (ENNA) in 2018, positive news about new investments and good business results came about. Engaged in the energy sector, the company decided to take advantage of the plethora of benefits of the common European energy market which opened up to Croatia after joining the European Union. They spent years learning about other markets and were intensively preparing, and the results of trade on the aforementioned common European market came in 2017, and eventually reflected in some excellent business results.

The headquarters of ENNA lies in the Eastern Croatian city of Vukovar, and it continues to successfully operate through companies located in Hungary, Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Slovenia.

Their success is based primarily on a wealth of knowledge, this young and ambitious team are oriented towards the digitalisation of the processes that take place within the company. In a way, ENNA represents a new generation on the Croatian business scene, recognising opportunities in a liberalised and growing integrated common European market. Thanks to this, this Croatian company achieved an incredibly impressive 1.2 billion euro in consolidated revenues last year.

Over the past two years, ENNA has invested more than 78 million euro into its business, strategically deciding on investments which make the most out of the synergistic potential within their own company portfolio. This year, they have continued to invest in rail freight and in the Port of Ploče, ESCO, various renewable energy sources, and energy trading, in which they remain the most successful. The ENNA ESCO company is currently completing the energetic reconstruction of a general hospital in Varaždin, and the energetic renewal of the police academy building in Zagreb is still ongoing. At the same time, in the Vukovar economic zone, the cogeneration plant for the production of electricity for biomass - ENNA biomass Vukovar and the new PPD business building, are now being completed.

The confirmation of their serious position is certainly proven by the collaboration with globally successful foreign partners. This Vukovar-based Croatian company has cooperated with VTTI, one of the largest operators and owners of oil storage terminals in the world, with Gazprom in the natural gas trade, and with INA, they're developing a strategic partnership in the Petrokemija recapitalisation project.

The ENNA Group is in an intense digitalization process, with particular attention being paid to the education of its employees, through its own education and training system.

The real core of Energia naturalis is a PPD group that deals with the import, sale, supply and continued distribution of natural gas, and that story is one of seventeen long years of unwavering persistence.

As stated, that story started about seventeen years ago, PPD has been operating since 2001 and its beginnings are related to obtaining gas concessions in the town of Vukovar and nine municipalities in the wider area of Vukovar-Srijem County. The result is them becoming the 100 percent owner(s) of this high quality distribution network in a country that is entirely built on private investment.

Their capital was already over 100 million kuna, while their annual income was 50 million kuna. Over the last ten years, the company has managed to gain more than 13,000 permanent customers. The opening of the gas market, marked up as one of the conditions for Croatia's accession to the European Union, finally occurred in 2012, with Croatia joining the bloc the following year. PPD welcomed the move, armed with the knowledge and experience of the neighbouring Hungarian market which they had been constantly visiting and studying for years before.

Since then, their revenue has increased significantly, and their interest has increased alongside that revenue growth. In the ENNA group, which is the owner of PPD and twenty other companies, 300 people are employed, and that is a figure which continues to rise.

Special engagement in the Vukovar region is considered a socially responsible business, in which ENNA and PPD participate through the continuous training of their employees and the New tomorrow (Novo sutra) foundation, which invests in socially useful projects in Slavonia and in scholarships for Slavonian students.

In addition to investing back into their own business and employees, they also invest in sport - and are the proud sponsors of successful clubs such as RK PPD Zagreb and the ENNA Vukovar women's volleyball club. Thus, in addition to achieving excellent results, this Croatian company can also boast of investing in children and young people through some of the things that mean the most to them.

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Friday, 16 November 2018

Fire Safe Europe: ''Croatia Has Excellent Chance to Improve Standards''

Can Croatia improve its standards by putting in proper preventative fire protection measures in its buildings, alongside the obtaining of energy efficiency certificates? Fire Safe Europe thinks so.

The director of Fire Safe Europe warns that fire protection should be thought of preventively, not just after something has already started burning.

As Ana Blaskovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of November, 2018, Juliette Albiac is the ''face'' of Fire Safe Europe, a lobby association of building material manufacturers, firefighters and firefighting experts, with the aim of increasing security standards when it comes to fire protection in buildings. After the utterly catastrophic fire that took place in the Grenfell skyscraper in London, which took 72 lives in 2017 because of the inadequate materials used in construction, the tragic theme has finally come to the forefront.

Since the Republic of Croatia also needs to incorporate fire protection regulation into its national legislation by the end of 2020, Fire Safe Europe points out that it is now an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of its importance in the energy renewal of buildings and the availability of European Union funds.

How much Europe is aware of the issues of fire protection?

The fire at the Grenfell Tower in London has inspired many countries in the rest of Europe to review their security procedures and documents, although some Eastern European countries have, already gone ahead and done that. We thought Britain was one of the leaders in standards of fire protection, so this tragedy came as a surprise to us. We knew there were problematic issues because the European regulations were not aligned, and the current testing models can't predict how facades will behave during a fire, but we'd never have said something like that would happen. It was a wake up call.

Was Grenfell a turning point?

First of all, it should be borne in mind that the regulations relating to fire protection are done at the jurisdiction of each member [state of the EU], just as they are with traffic safety. After Grenfell, several countries revised their regulations, but not all of them. A new law has come into force in France, while talks about properly defining tall buildings or skyscrapers are going on in Belgium, as evacuations in the event of fires are getting worse and longer.

Unlike airborne (aircraft) accidents that are spoken about in the media, about which much can be learned by analysing, this isn't the case with fires that take place in buildings. In Europe, about 4,000 people are killed per year, and about 200,000 people are injured. That's why the European Commission established the Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP) last year to allow member states to share the best experiences and their data.

What about Croatia?

Unlike Europe, which has had to learn from tragedy, Croatia has luckily learned another way, for example, after we conducted a scientific fire facade study in partnership with the University of Zagreb, the results have influenced a change of regulations to strengthen fire protection. We've compared the three types of façades with different materials that behave differently in a fire. It's been shown that due to the high proportion of flammable materials inside the building, the fire spreads quickly inside and outside of the building, and the speed the fire spread depends on the materials used on the outside of the building. It was a breakthrough where the importance of fire protection was really recognised; we conducted the experiment in 2014, and the regulation in Croatia was changed in 2015.

Otherwise, all eastern countries in Europe take more stringent mandatory measures than trends in Western Europe. Among them, Croatia and Bulgaria have adapted the energy efficiency regulations by prescriptive measures. Take, for example, the definition of tall buildings and skyscrapers; in eastern countries, the borders are lower than they are in Western Europe, and this is extremely important for fire protection. If a fire occurs, the time of evacuation from such buildings is longer. There is no single answer that is the best when it comes to fire protection, for example, it's not enough to just install water sprinklers, but it needs to be a complete approach.

However, everything comes down to money and construction costs. How much more, on average, expensive is it to incorporate a range of inflammable materials into a building?

It's not just a matter of money, the problem lies with insufficient education. Often people, and I'm thinking of building owners and of landlords, don't think about fire protection when building an energy-efficient building. At Fire Safe Europe, we're working to make sure [they know] that using inadequate materials or installing non-certified materials can increase the risk of fire. Talk to your architects and your designers, this isn't just a matter of money. Today's construction is fragmented and the responsibility is also ultimately fragmented. That's the problem. Just take the example of the fires in the middle of the tourist season in Split last year when the fires came down into the city and the citizens and tourists had to evacuate.

Soon, new changes will come into effect. What's that all about?

Croatia, as well as other EU members, will soon be adopting a new long-term energy-building renewal regulation pertaining to the Energy Performance Building Directive (EPBD), which was amended this year, which for the first time mentions fire protection in as many as two articles, in which it demands of a member state that when working to reduce energy consumption in buildings, they also take charge of fire safety. The new regulation has to be included in national legislation within two years, for which discussions have already begun in Croatia. It's important to emphasise that European Union funds are available to those who want to make their buildings more energy efficient, and make them safer in the event of a fire.

What's your key message?

Research shows that people often think of fires just after they hear that something is burning somewhere. In other words, fire protection is often not considered as preventive or during energy renewal, and unfortunately that's a fact. Croatia now has a fantastic opportunity to further improve the standards of fire protection within the energy renewal of its buildings. That's why it's important for people to think about fire protection every time they talk about energy efficiency. Imagine, there's no fire protection included at the time of obtaining an energy certificate, so we know how much energy is being consumed but we don't know how the building will behave in the fire. Personally, it's not clear to me how a building can be sustainable and at the same time be able to just burn to the ground.

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Click here for the original article/interview by Ana Blaskovic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Saturday, 29 September 2018

10.5 Million Kuna for School Renovation in Koprivnica-Križevci County

Good news for students in Koprivnica-Križevci County!

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

One Billion Kuna for Energy Renewal of Schools, Healthcare Facilities and More

Is more emphasis on energy efficiency on its way to Croatia's public sector facilities?

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Over 1b Kuna to be Invested in Energy Renewal for Croatian Apartment Buildings

Over the next two years, Croatian apartment buildings will undergo energy renovations through an investment of over 1 billion kuna.

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