Public buildings should lead by example in renovations, but catching up with the commercial sector will not be easy – writes the Slovakian Buildings for the Future Association.
The state should lead by example but the public sector is far behind the commercial sector in renovating its buildings. If the country wants to meet its ambitious climate goals and get rid of dependence on fossil fuels, investments from the Recovery Plan and OP Slovakia will have to go much more flexibly towards more ambitious renovations of public buildings – as B4F, the Slovakian Association of Buildings for the Future sums up the results of the platform’s recent event.
The invited representatives of the energy, construction and the state sector along with local governments also added that concerning local governments there is a need for better systematic planning of calls, better coordination with the state and enabling the sharing of good examples from practice
Doing only the necessary minimum
“The current situation with the renovation of public buildings is that we do only the necessary minimum. The works are slow and of poor quality resulting in unsatisfactory conditions for the next decades to come. Massive funds from the recovery and resilience plan and EU funds are waiting for us. It is time for us to learn from the mistakes of the past and set the new building investment system on more comprehensive renovations with a holistic approach” – the platform quotes Katarína Nikodemová, Director of the association.
Commercial sector to set the example
The professionals agreed that the experiences of the commercial sector could set the standards with its examples of quality new buildings and renovations. “When defining quality, it is necessary to focus not only on the need to reduce energy intensity, which is undoubtedly important, but also not to forget other elements of quality such as adaptation to climate change, sustainability of building materials or the quality of the indoor environment. It is important that such an approach to renovations is taken into account when justifying the cost of future building renovation calls”- added Richard Paksi, the platform’s analyst.
Different sectors with different conditions
However, it must not be forgotten that the situation is different for the public and private sectors and they work differently. The public sector usually has more complex conditions and a higher bureaucratic burden. The fundraising and budgeting mechanism is also more complicated than in the private sector. “Municipalities are already feeling very tense in their budgets and this pressure will increase. At the same time, there are high energy prices and the need to reduce energy dependence is real. Local governments would definitely be helped by better and timely project planning, which in the new programming period will allow the use of integrated territorial investments, which should not be financed in a demand-driven manner so that regional matters are not decided from the table in Bratislava. Financing guarantees for such demanding projects as complex renovations of buildings would also help”- said Jana Červenáková, Executive Vice President of the Union of Slovak Cities.
“By measures aimed at energy savings and greater support for renewables, we could contribute to lower energy needs and consequently lower energy bills. In the context of the expected increase in gas prices for next year by 60% and heat by 40%, this is almost a necessity for which we must prepare and it will be beneficial for all if the state finds an effective way to cooperate with local governments” – concluded Katarína Nikodemová.