With the apartment buildings renovation (modernization) program under way, some cities have renovated some of their apartment blocks, others can count them in double digits, while Ignalina has upgraded more than 100 apartment buildings. After a year and a half, upon completion of the final works, it will become the only city in the Eastern European region in which all the apartment buildings are renovated.

According to Aleksandr Dolgov, chief engineer of “Ignalinos butų ūkis”, all the city’s apartment buildings now save at least 50 percent of thermal energy. He points out that such savings are minimal – there are a number of renovated houses with savings of 60 and 70 percent, while one house saves up to 78 percent heating energy consumption. Dolgov states that only high-quality renovation works can help to achieve effective energy savings.

The success was determined by the right first steps

“The renovation owes its success to the right first steps – we strived to present the benefits of renovation to the residents of the city as attractively as possible”, explained Vidmantas Čepulėnas, Head of the Ignalina Investment and Strategic Planning Department, and explained that the money spent on the renovation will be financially covered by the saved energy.

He admits that despite the attractive argumentation, the start was not easy. The residents were skeptical, but after the renovation of the first five apartment buildings, residents of other housing also wanted to renew their house. Mr. Čepulėnas says that everything started with the support received from the status of problematic territories, a sum of 8.6 million litas. Then the first apartment buildings were renovated, but it was really difficult to find proactive residents who would dare to be the first ones to renew their homes.

“At that time, the cost for renovation of apartment buildings was financed up to 85%. Obviously, such conditions allowed for an almost free housing renewal, we only had to persuade people to take advantage of such an opportunity. In addition to publicity in the press, public meetings were held with residents, during which the conditions and benefits of renovation were explained”, says Mr. Čepulėnas.

He remembers that few inhabitants were interested in the possibility of renovation. After a lot of effort, 5 apartment buildings were renovated, with their residents contributing only the remaining 15% of the total cost. When the first winter arrived, news broke out that the heating price for the residents of the renovated houses has halved. Then, most of the city residents also wanted renewed housing. Seeking to have their housing at the top of the selection, the residents even offered to contribute not only 15, but 18 percent of their funds for the renovation, and the residents of the last house renovated under that program covered one third of the renovation funds from their pockets.

In 2012, after the end of the program, “Ignalinos enervizija” program was prepared and approved. By then the renovations were covered only by 50 percent from the state funds, but there were even more people wanting to renovate their housing than before. Ignalina managed to get a soft loan from the bank for 20 years, which is being covered by saved heating costs.

Since the third renovation phase in 2013, renovations for all the rest of the houses have been planned and purchased. After a year and a half, Ignalina will have renovated 100% of its apartment buildings.

According to Vidmantas Čepulėnas, in essence, the renovation did not cost at all for the inhabitants, as the cost of public utilities with heating in old, not renovated housing usually amounts to a couple of hundred euros. After the renovation, these costs dropped by half, €100, a sum of money which is now intended to cover the bank loan: “Essentially, the financial burden of the inhabitants has not changed, but they live in renovated homes.”

The source of the article in Lithuanian language: www.15min.lt/verslas/naujiena/kvadratinis-metras/nekilnojamasis-turtas/renovacijos-cempionei-ignalinai-pavyko-renovuoti-visus-daugiabucius-973-1030860