Energy efficiency pays back (and not just the money)
More than 50% of electricity in Kosovo is used by the residential sector, 80% of which is used for space and water heating. What can we do in our own households to be more energy-efficient?
We are entering the summer months, but it’s worth remembering how in each winter season in Kosovo when the temperatures drop and the need for heating the houses and apartments increases, we all start talking about the cost of heating and electricity. We’ve witnessed intensive discussions in social circles, media or institutional statements about the measures we can take on reducing the cost for Kosovar families and saving electricity for the country.
Although energy efficiency measures could address all these issues fully or partially, the design and implementation of such solutions in Kosovo are still in the initial phases.
As the demand for electricity in Kosovo surpasses the supply, saving energy through efficiency measures presents one of the key approaches in ensuring reliable energy supply. More than 50% of electricity in Kosovo is used by the residential sector, 80% of which is used for space and water heating. This is way above the EU standards for the household’s consumption.
What are the energy-saving measures that can be applied in residential buildings? Millennium Foundation Kosovo is aiming to inform Kosovo citizens and raise their awareness about these measures and their benefits through the implementation of the Pilot Incentives for Energy Efficiency Activity. One of the key objectives of this activity will be the provision of incentives and technical support for the implementation of energy efficiency measures.
Considering that reducing living costs and improving the living conditions are permanent goals in the residential sector, homeowners and users in Kosovo should consider one or more of the following energy efficiency measures. You’ll find even more ideas here!
Home energy assessment carried out by the designated professionals, presents the first step that examines your home as a whole, showing the amount of consumed energy, and the amount of energy loses, as indicators of the energy efficiency level. Moreover, this assessment also shows where are the flaws that cause the energy losses, whether they are of a structural nature (e.g. walls, roofs), technical (e.g. electrical device efficiency), or behavioural (e.g. leaving the lights on). You may be surprised on the discovered locations or behaviour through which energy leaks out from your home. Home energy assessment also shows what measures should be taken to eliminate these flaws, some of which are presented below.
Thermal insulation and sealing in order to reduce heat losses through walls and roofs during winter, as well as to prevent undesirable heating during summer. In applying this measure, it is important to determine exactly which types of insulation materials are needed and in what dimensions, for which home energy assessment is needed. Although Kosovo citizens in general terms have information for the benefits of thermal insulation, the share of 80% of residential electricity use for heating shows that this measure is still to be applied in most cases. Except for reducing bills, this measure also ensures an improved living comfort. And let’s not forget that the refurbishment of the façades also provides an opportunity to give a fresh new look to your house.
Replacing the windows and external doors in order to reduce energy losses. It is necessary to select windows and frames with specifications that meet the energy efficiency requirements, which enable the primary function of the windows for lighting, but at the same time provide sufficient thermal insulation. At the end of the day, who doesn’t like enjoying winter scenery with a cup of tea by the window inside a warm home.
Instalment of high-efficiency furnace which allows for good quality heating with a reasonable cost for fuel, thus eliminating the dependency on electricity for heating. These types of furnaces are becoming available in the market in recent years, and are far more efficient than the old furnaces. The investment in purchasing and installing these furnaces pays back through energy savings and increased home comfort.
Choosing energy efficient home appliances starting from small appliances and lighting, to the larger ones such as boilers, stoves, or washing machines. Fortunately, in the last few years, the supply of energy efficient appliances in the market is growing, making it easier to choose the most adequate ones. The investments needed to purchase these appliances are returned through reduced electricity bills. And having new appliances in our homes really makes our lives easier.
And last but not least…
Manage your electricity consumption! Despite all the measures presented above, our behaviour remains essential in remaining energy efficient. So, you need to ask yourself if you really need all those lights turned on during evenings and nights? Do you really need all those electronic devices turned on or chargers being kept plugged in? Although it may seem that these devices don’t require a high level of electric consumption, at the end of the month the consumption from these devices consist a not so small percentage of your electricity bill (it may reach close to 10% of the bill). So, be aware of such “hidden” consumption. It will support keeping your house efficient and your electricity bills low. And maybe keep you away from unnecessary use of TVs, computers or phones, and allow you to have more conversations with loved ones in your home. Because it’s not necessary to be plugged in each moment of your life.
The potential for savings through energy efficiency measures is high, and this is important for every Kosovar family. This is a crucial element for enabling households to have access to financing the energy efficiency measures in their homes. And saved money from the reduced electricity bills can later be used for other family needs, such as further housing improvements, health, education and quality time together. Or it can even be used for investments in business… and energy efficiency sector seems promising.
Vigan Perani is the Energy Efficiency Specialist at Millennium Foundation Kosovo. Opinions in this blog may not reflect necessarily policies of Government of Kosovo or Millennium Challenge Corporation.
Photography by Flutura Gërxhaliu / Wikimedia Commons