Since November last year when the requirement for all newly constructed buildings to correspond to no lower than energy performance class A came into force, the energy consumption (and the environmental impact) in such buildings has been reduced about 10 times, as the calculations show. Before the above requirement came into force, the majority of country’s real estate developers showed preference to performance class B buildings.
The differences between the different classes are apparent. The energy efficiency class B buildings have much lower construction costs which explains the developers’ preference for this type. However, the experts claim that the residents’ interest in high efficiency energy class buildings is growing which allows the investors to be more daring when investing not only in performance class A but also in A+ projects.
„It is only natural that the deciding factor in the residents’ decision to purchase a flat in a high energy performance class building is their willingness to reduce the heating bills, which is totally understandable as the new bills are by up to ten times lower. It is a significant long term financial indicator. However, people’s consciousness is also of importance here as many say that they care for the environment they live in,“ says Gvidas Dargužas, Managing Director of the Public Investment Development Agency (UAB Viešųjų investicijų plėtros agentūra) providing soft loans for the residents who have decided to increase the energy efficiency of their homes.
It is predicted that the energy performance class A houses will make up to 15 % of the market this year and this number will continue to grow. The energy performance class is slowly becoming one of the main criteria when choosing home. With buyers showing more and more interest specifically in the flats and houses of this class, the developers are planning large scale investment in construction of such buildings.
In addition to the construction of new buildings, attempts to increase energy efficiency in Lithuania were made through the Residential Energy Efficiency Programme which started in 2016. The main project responsibilities fall with the municipalities as their active participation is the factor which determines the success of the project.
The Residential Energy Efficiency Programme allows for the Multi Apartment Building Modernisation Programme, which is well on its way in Lithuania already, to be elevated to an entirely new level and stage where in addition to the modernisation of residential buildings, the infrastructure and government buildings and the outside areas will be renovated, thus creating environmentally friendly and highly energy efficient residential areas.
The project contributes to the sustainable city planning as it not only allows for the renovation of the existing residential areas but also for the development of the city and such integration of the new territories that would not increase the human impact on the environment.
The Residential Energy Efficiency Programme is a long term large scope process with a lot of responsibilities involved. The experts say that it could take decades but the fact that Lithuania has already taken the first determined step and started the implementation of the pilot projects allows to expect major energy savings in the near future.
Represented by Public Investment Development Agency, for the last year Lithuania has been taking part in the international energy efficiency increasing programme BUILD2LC together with other six EU countries: Spain, Poland, UK, Croatia, Sweden and Slovenia. Within the scope of the project the countries share their good practice and try to find solutions for the acceleration of the processes to increase energy efficiency.