Thanks to European Union assistance to Moldova’s efforts on an energy transition, residents of four blocks of flats in Chișinău will pay up to 30% less for heating

December 12, 2023

Four hundred and forty-five families in four blocks of flats in Chișinău, the Republic of Moldova, will pay up to 30% less for heating, after changing the heating distribution system to a more energy efficient one. The newly installed Individual Thermal Points (ITP) allow the transfer of thermal energy from the city's centralised system to the building's internal system with minimal heat loss. Thanks to these modifications, the heating will be delivered centrally and distributed evenly to all resident apartments, allowing it to be adjusted individually and properly metered in each apartment. In addition, hot water is prepared in the ITP for domestic use. The switch to the horizontal distribution system will allow savings in energy, costs, and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The works of over one million euros, were financed by the European Union (EU) as part of a larger action "Addressing the impacts of the energy crisis", implemented by UNDP Moldova. The blocks of flats were selected through an open competition and households contributed 20% of the investment value.

One of the beneficiary blocks is located on Bulgară street, Chișinău. Since its construction in 1956, tenants of the 56 apartments heated their homes with firewood, until 1975, when the building was connected to the centralised municipal vertical heating system. After almost 50 years in operation, the centralised distribution system was no longer efficient, and bills doubled during the recent energy crisis.

"Three years ago, when I took over the management of the block, I didn't even dream that there could be funding from the EU for such works. The process was much easier than we thought and included equipment inside the apartments, installing pipes and radiators. Even some of the households who used to heat themselves with autonomous gas plants switched back to the centralised system. Now all the residents have hot water, which was missing for 30 years," says the administrator of the block, Ludmila Rotaru.

The building is on the list of 25 blocks, competitively selected, where the Agency for Energy Efficiency will carry out energy audits to identify the energy efficiency measures to be implemented. Such audits are also funded by the EU through the "Addressing the impacts of the energy crisis" programme.

"The majority of buildings in the Republic of Moldova, both residential and public, were built before 1991, when energy efficiency standards were not a priority—respectively, they have very high heat losses. In fact, buildings are responsible for more than half of the country's energy consumption, and the Ministry of Energy is preparing a massive investment program in the thermal rehabilitation of buildings, which will reduce losses and, respectively, energy bills for the population," said Victor Parlicov, Minister of Energy.

The horizontal distribution system can be applied in more than 80% of multi-storey buildings in the country connected to the central heating system. More than 70% of multi-storey buildings in Chișinău have low energy performance, and energy losses represent up to 50% of total heat consumption. Thus, the Agency for Energy Efficiency is to be transformed into the National Center for Sustainable Energy, which will manage the Residential Energy Efficiency Fund in Moldova. It will finance an extensive programme to change the heating systems and rehabilitate the blocks of flats.

"It’s great to see how Moldova has been able to turn things around in the face of Russian gas cuts and price hikes in 2021 and 2022, accelerating the country’s energy transition and sheltering vulnerable consumers as show-cased by this pilot initiative for more energy efficient residential buildings. I am proud that the EU through its Service for Foreign Policy Instruments has been able to be part of the effort. This and other initiatives we support help reduce dependence on Russian gas supplies and present first steps on the path towards a more carbon neutral future,” said Peter M. Wagner, Director of the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments, European Commission, during his visit at the residential apartment block located on Bulgară Street.

Previously, UNDP installed horizontal heating systems in six blocks of flats in Chișinău and Bălți, to demonstrate the efficiency of these systems. Tenants of those blocks last year recorded an average savings on bills of up to 22% in Chișinău and over 40% in Bălți.

"With the generous financial contribution of the EU, we have joined hands with the Government of the Republic of Moldova to support energy vulnerable households in reducing their energy bills especially in the cold season of the year. And we went further - in parallel, we have also explored increasing energy efficiency holds the key to lowering energy costs and positively impacting the climate. Refurbishing the heating system is a practical and specific measure that contributes to a just and green energy transition, with considerable replicability potential,” said Daniela Gasparikova, UNDP Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova.

The centralised heating system is considered the most efficient, especially if it works in cogeneration, that is, it generates both heat and electricity. Currently, in Chișinău there are over 200,000 apartments located in more than 3800 blocks, connected to the centralised heating system.

With a budget of  EUR 13 million , under the "Addressing the impact of the energy crisis in the Republic of Moldova" programme, implemented by UNDP, the European Union supported the creation of the platform and launched a campaign to replace old household appliances with new and energy efficient ones. The programme finances the installation of photovoltaic panels in family-type children's homes and several hospitals.  

In addition, the programme provides support for the transposition of the EU's Third Energy Package into both primary and secondary legislation, as well as the transposition of a number of Directives and Regulations of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, which address the energy performance of buildings, renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, good governance and electricity market design.

Access here the press-release in Russian.