Making life in the village attractive and comfortable is not only a governmental aspiration. It is also the aim of an association of a local community of Ilgiai (“Ilgių bendruomenė”), which was established in 2013 and situated in Eastern Lithuania (Rimšė subdistrict, Ignalina district) near the intersection of three countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus). The local community located around Lake Ilgis promotes the activity of local residents of Rimšė region, shapes the traditions and customs of communal life, actively participates in organizing education and sport activities for community members, cooperation between communities, social and cultural employment, and leisure time.

The subdistrict of Rimšė is situated just a few kilometres from the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, whose exploitation is being terminated. Historically, this part of Lithuania has become the Lithuanian energy region. Energetic and creative people live in this exceptional region. Over the course of its five active years, the community has implemented more than 15 projects important for local and regional development, in this way creating city-like quality in the silence of a village. The community has set up a modern ground for active recreation and sports, established infrastructure for tourism, as well as community and national publicity measures, and also organizes events and educational programs. The development of green and cost-effective energy in this region has become the vision of Ilgiai community.

The main strategic direction of community’s activity is: the development of energy resources, healthy lifestyles and eco-ideas, while working actively with children, young people and families.

An exclusive object of the small border town is Children’s Day Care centre of Rimšė region with an open youth area. Ilgiai community made a decision on the need of a cosy and modern building and took the initiative: the community prepared a project and, after receiving support, has reconstructed a more than 10 years old, abandoned, unused building into a modern and economical sanctuary. In these newly renovated premises the Children’s Day Care centre with an open youth area was founded in 2016. Here everyone is welcome, and not only children are happy to visit and participate, but also families, people of all ages are happy to engage in the activities.

The energy-efficient building has become the first public building that has achieved a particularly high A+ energy class. The building envelope (walls, floors, ceilings) of unique technology keeps the heat in the building during the cold season, while during the hot one does not allow the premises to overheat. The building is equipped with a modern air-to-air heat pump, and a recuperative ventilation and conditioning system for the building is also installed. A modern and economical building lighting system also allows to save energy. Ilgiai community feels happy and at ease: they have a modern building with functional spaces (kitchen, sports, leisure, conferences and administrative premises) which can be used continuously and the community does not need to be afraid of building maintenance costs becoming unbearable. For the entire maintenance of the modern 220 m2 centre (heating, ventilation, lighting) Ilgiai community spends only about EUR 1000 per year (around EUR 80 per month), which is less than owners of non-renovated apartment buildings spend on heating in cities.

Community representatives share their experiences: “The climate in Lithuania is more northern and the warm season takes only a short time. However, we like to make disadvantages into advantages. After creating a modern infrastructure we have no more worries: the building is fully autonomous, the systems operate economically and independently, we do not have additional costs for maintenance of the building, heating, etc. We are independent. We are happy to allocate savings to educational activities of children and families. As we feel thankful for every sunny day, now we have a goal of installing a photoelectric power plant on the roof of the building, which was already adjusted to it during the reconstruction. By having a solar power plant we would fully cover the electricity needs for the maintenance of the building, and then we would have almost a passive community house, which already became an energy saving example for households.”

The community is actively cooperating with various organisations, participates in international projects, organises presentations and educational programs. In 2016 Ilgiai community was nominated and awarded as the most youthful Lithuanian community in a competition “Lithuanian Rural Ray 2016” („Lietuvos kaimo spindulys 2016“).