Latvian multi-apartment blocks

Promoting energy efficiency investments in multiapartment blocks by engaging residents and supporting joint decisions

”Our project aims to improve the energy efficiency of multi-apartment buildings in the towns of Cēsis and Sigulda by renovation and insulation” says Agris Kamenders from Ekodoma. Due to a low energy efficiency of the Latvian building stock in general, the government provides 40% co-financing for renovations that increase the efficiency of a building by at least 20%. “This means that the residents have to pay 60% of the renovation costs themselves. Decisions about the renovations must be supported by 51% of the residents before they can take place. Our role is to inform the residents about the renovations, the costs, the benefits via different ways. We hope of course that we can convince the residents to renovate their buildings.”

Five non-renovated buildings are participating in the project and four renovated buildings are involved to learn about and benefit from their experiences. The multi-apartment buildings are maintained by a building management company and have a ‘building elder’ who functions as a representative or spokesperson of the building.

In each of the five non-renovated buildings the project proceeds differently due to different interests and support by residents, the building elder and the building manager. Two of the non-renovated buildings are not willing to invest in building renovations. “One of them recently required repairing of roof damage and because residents are still paying off the loan taken up for this purpose, they have little interest in making another large investment for the renovation” says Agris Kamenders from Ekodoma. “It’s a pity, but an understandable argument because the renovations do require personal investments from the residents”. In the other building neither the building manager nor the elder is interested in renovation plans.

Residents of the other three non-renovated buildings are interested in renovation. “One of the building managers is very active and engaged. He asked us for advice and support to apply for governmental co-financing and for gaining the necessary 51% majority among residents. In this building the preparation to apply for governmental co-financing is proceeding very fast” says Agris Kamenders. Residents in another building are considering different renovation and financing options like governmental co-financing, or contracting an energy service company. The third building interested in renovation is considering some smaller energy efficiency measures (e.g. new windows) but planning has not advanced very far (yet).