By Burgas energy efficient housing, article from the Atlas of Utopias

What’s unique about the initiative?

Fifteen years ago, the Bulgarian town of Burgas was highly energy inefficient, leading to very high energy costs for local authorities and citizens, as well as poor living conditions and environmental inequality. Today it is a different story. Burgas is a smart, energy efficient city implementing the most up-to-date energy approaches and measures, and demonstrates the power of local authorities to drive sustainable change.

Most outstanding results

Energy efficiency was one of the priorities we laid down in Burgas Municipality’s Municipal Plans and Sustainable Energy Action Plan between 2007 and 2020. Today, the entire population of Burgas Municipality (232,000 people) have directly or indirectly benefitted from our decision. All public buildings have been retrofitted, providing better living conditions for inhabitants. Children, young people and teachers have benefitted from the retrofitting of 98% of kindergartens and schools, and local businesses have benefitted from investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, which in turn has helped them to develop and grow.

The council’s huge investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, electric vehicles, efficient street lighting, and smart management systems – implemented with the support of EU funds, and state and private resources – are turning the city into a smart and sustainable place to live.

We established a special directorate, specialised in the development and implementation of EU-funded projects, as most of the measures were implemented with the support of the EU. Additional municipal experts in energy efficiency and energy audits and climate change were employed to maximise the benefits from these measures.

Citizens are now actively searching for ways to retrofit their homes. Our municipality is now leading the country when it comes to energy efficient living, with more than 200 residential buildings retrofitted under the National EE Programme and the number of hybrid and e-vehicles in the city constantly rising.

Covid-19 outbreak impact

The COVID-19 outbreak had no drastic impact on our implementation of energy efficiency measures, as some of them took place before the emergence of the epidemic. Those initiatives that are currently being implemented in ways that comply fully with national requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Quote from the Transformative Cities evaluation committee

“Ambitious and effective action by a municipal authority with the vision, conviction and commitment to direct its financial, communicative and legislative resources to a concerted, long-term and incremental programme that has made the city a national and international leader in implementing energy efficiency and sustainable energy measures.”
– Tom Henfrey & Duncan Crowley