Polish Pilot Project

Setting up collaborative initiatives to engage tenants and property owners in the  energy retrofit of large scale residential buildings with communal ownership in Warsaw

The key aim of the Polish pilot is to convince landlords and tenants of large multifamily buildings to act upon the recommendations provided within the EPC. For the pilot project, KAPE has set up a collaboration with the Building Administration of Ochota District in Warsaw that administers almost 400 multifamily buildings. 30 buildings were selected for the pilot project, most of these buildings being quite old and in need of intensive renovation. Other key partners were involved such as the University of Warsaw and BASF, who did thermo-imaging of all 30 buildings.

Because the buildings are in communal ownership, decision making problems, particularly related to the funding for the renovation measures have to be faced. The appropriate involvement and engagement of owners, tenants and refurbishment actors and an atmosphere of responsibility and transparency is crucial.

Activities undertaken so far:

  • Meetings with tenants took place in order to obtain support and approval for the projects;
  • EPCs were issued by KAPE for all 30 buildings and tender procedures for performing the energy audits were initiated;
  • Detailed information on the current state of the buildings has been gathered, amongst others by thermographical imagery, as a basis for exploring refurbishment options;
  • A knowledge database with possible improvement measures was created and is intended to grow into a larger knowledge and innovative technologies database;
  • A new "Smart Ways to Save Money" approach was set up highlighting appropriate investments in energy refurbishment based on interdisciplinary solutions.

Key lessons learnt:

  • The EPC can be used as a successful tool to convince tenants and owners to undertake actions: detailed information on the benefits of renovation measures included in the EPC’s acts as a successful stimulant to persuade housing cooperatives;
  • Mechanisms that enable appropriate involvement of all stakeholders are of high importance: consultations and dialogue with housing cooperatives are crucial to help tenants to overcome barriers such as passivity and lack of trust.
  • The project success is highly dependent on the abandonment of traditional models with unclear responsibilities and lack of cooperation between the actors involved. Landlords and tenants should broaden their focus towards collaborative models with involvement of different stakeholders (for example: knowledge partners, policy makers, technology suppliers)
  • Criteria related to the delivered quality and the actual energy savings achieved should be considered in the decision making process, contrary to only considering lowest costs as a criterion.

After finalization of the REQUEST project, KAPE will continue to monitor and assist the Building Administration of Ochota District for the entire duration of the refurbishment works. The Polish pilot project is related to a larger initiative creating a Knowledge and Innovative Technologies database called “BuildNewCities”, bringing together individuals as well as economic entities to participate in activities concerned with achieving the highest standard of energy efficiency for buildings.