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Macedonia: taking energy seriously


maced_250_01.jpgDegraded residential unit in Karposmaced_250_02.jpg
Karposh building after renovation

In 2010, Habitat for Humanity Macedonia and USAID joined forces for a pilot to develop a model for tackling energy efficiency in the residential sector. One of the tasks for the initiative is to demonstrate how investment in the area brings benefits and positive changes.

Official data shows that Macedonia spends four times more energy per capita than developed countries in the region. Almost 40 percent of its energy goes towards heating. Thus, improving residential energy efficiency is one of the top priorities in the country. If solved, it can limit energy waste, cut energy costs and improve the living standards for people, mainly those on low income.

Working with municipalities
Habitat for Humanity Macedonia developed its first project to address this need in 2009. It started by offering small loans for energy efficient improvements in the buildings and individual flats. By upgrading windows, roofs, entrances and external walls, residents can lower energy consumption and save money for utility payments.

At first, this work was carried out in the municipality of Kavardarci where Habitat Macedonia helped upgrade 28 apartments. Later, the organization moved to the municipality of Karposh. Since then, Habitat Macedonia has assisted more than 400 families in improving living conditions and decreasing energy costs.

Habitat and USAID
The success of this project led to a partnership with USAID to develop and test a sustainable model for addressing residential energy efficiency for low income households. The project aims to upgrade energy efficiency features in three municipal buildings, and at the same time conduct an energy audit to estimate how much families save on the utilities. Renovations include roof reconstructions, window and door replacements and the application of thermo façades.

An additional component of this project supports youth workforce development in Macedonia. Twelve high school graduates were able to participate in the training and installation of energy efficiency equipment in the buildings.

The project has also initiated a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG), a coordination and information exchange forum for different stakeholders in the government, industry and civil society. It plans to bring together those interested in residential energy efficiency, energy price reforms and improved social safety nets.

What is next?

Habitat wants people not only to read about poverty housing but do something to fight it. You can support Habitat’s work in Europe and Central Asia in a number of ways. Here are some examples:

• Visit our U.S. Dollar donation page to support projects in Macedonia.
• Visit our Euro donation page to support projects in Macedonia.
• Go to country profile pages to learn about other programmes in this country.

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