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Ukraine begins SMARTER4EU grant project

The European-Ukrainian Energy Agency (EUEA) and the Energy Efficient Cities of Ukraine (EECU) association have commenced the implementation of the SMARTER4EU grant project, funded by the European Commission.

The SMARTER4EU project is predicated on the concept of combining low-cost, credible green certification with a verified high standard of energy performance in residential properties, the EUEA said in a press release.

The project aims to promote the adoption of sustainable practices by offering homeowners incentives including discounted green mortgages from partnering banks. To provide comprehensive guidance to residential investors and developers, the project offers the “Green Homes & Green Mortgages: Toolkit for Residential Investors & Developers” programme, supplemented by an illustrative example provided by the Romania Green Building Council (RoGBC).

During the recent kick-off meeting held in Brussels last week, EUEA Director Kateryna Polyakova and EECU Executive Director Sviatoslav Pavliuk shed light on the pressing challenges and needs that Ukraine currently faces as it seeks to rebuild following the Russian invasion.

85 per cent of Ukraine’s residential building structures originate from the pre-1991 Soviet era, UWEA said. The repercussions of this outdated infrastructure manifest in alarming energy consumption figures. Prior to the invasion, the average energy consumption in Ukraine’s residential sector stood at 186 kWh/m2, which is 2-3 times higher than the energy standards in the European Union.

Impact of the Russian invasion on energy efficiency

The damages caused by the Russian invasion have resulted in 53.6 billion US dollars in replacement costs, according to recent estimates. Residential housing accounts for 37 per cent of the total war damages (registered as of March 2023), disproportionately impacting regions like Donetsk, Kyiv, Luhansk, Chernihiv, and Kharkiv.

In light of these challenges, the project sets out to address the urgent needs of residents, construction companies and the State, while actively promoting energy-efficient reconstruction.

For residents, the project seeks to enhance access to social housing and loans for apartment purchases. It also aims to promote the construction of new housing in less affected regions while rebuilding settlements in war-affected areas. The availability of affordable mortgage programs and energy-efficient homes are crucial to reduce energy costs and facilitate mortgage payments, the EUEA said.

For construction companies, the project aims to create lending instruments to finance the construction of multi-apartment residential buildings that comply with “green standards.” At the state level, efforts are directed towards solving the housing crisis faced by those who have lost their homes due to the war or intend to relocate.

Expressing her optimism during the kick-off meeting in Brussels, the EUEA Director noted the “strong potential” of the SMARTER4EU project to deploy valuable tools in Ukraine’s green reconstruction.

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