Energy poverty is one of the most pressing issues in Central and Eastern Europe. By addressing energy efficient retrofitting of multi-unit apartment buildings, the REELIH (residential energy efficiency for low income households) project is working to promote an innovative approach to reduce energy poverty.
Many homeowners in Central and Eastern Europe live in buildings that were built thirty or even fifty years ago. These buildings have hardly been renovated since then. Due to outdated heating technologies used during the construction, poor insulation and lack of maintenance over the years, the living conditions in such buildings have drastically been deteriorating, thus creating an unhealthy environment and economic hardships for the inhabitants who often barely manage to pay their heating bills.
The REELIH project, founded in August 2012 by Habitat for Humanity and USAID, aims to improve these living conditions as well as reduce the impact of escalating energy prices on low-income households.
Habitat for Humanity and USAID managed to develop viable and sustainable financial models that will facilitate the process of renovation and management of residential buildings. The main energy efficiency improvements involve insulation of buildings’ common area and using energy efficiency technologies in order to reduce costs of energy while maintaining a social safety net for low-income families.
The REELIH project objective is to demonstrate how the issue of energy poverty can be tackled in those former Soviet block countries. Habitat for Humanity started to address residential energy efficiency more than five years ago with the support of USAID. Projects were started in Macedonia, Armenia and Bosnia and Hercegovina. A lot was learnt from these projects by working hand in hand with researchers to better understand the context of residential energy efficiency in Central and Eastern Europe. Many stakeholders were engaged, both at the national and the European levels, and as a result the platform was created in order to share this experience. The platform has been developed to foster further spread of knowledge and policy dialogue among all relevant actors in residential energy efficiency. Apart from the English version of the REELIH website there are also Armenian and Bosnian webpages available which target homeowner associations in these respective countries and offer practical information about how to carry out energy efficiency retrofits of their own buildings.
To learn more about the approach to residential energy efficiency, please visit getwarmhomes.org
The REELIH project is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the sole responsibility of the Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.