First official training event for ESCOs and Financial Institutions in Bulgaria

The Bulgarian FinEERGo-Dom team joined forces with another EE H2020 project – QualitEE, to create synergies and amplify the benefits of both projects. The QualitEE project aims to increase investment in energy efficiency services in the building sector across the EU and improve trust in service providers. Inspired by the LABEEF guidelines, as Ekodoma is a member in the original Sunshine project, QualitEE also promotes a set of standards. This includes developing quality assessment standards and implementing quality assurance schemes. Additionally, FinEERGo-Dom seeks to establish an innovative financial mechanism with project quality through standards being one of its pillars, which makes the synergies between the two H2020 projects evident.

The training event took place at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Sofia University to take advantage of the well developed administrative and academic body, and strong business community network. – the business arm of the faculty, is well known for regularly organizing trainings, events, conferences and seminars, related to energy, utility and facilities domain. They publish two of the highly reputed professional magazines in Bulgaria – “Utilities” and “Facilities”. The Bulgarian Alliance for Energy Efficiency (AEE) – a NGO of ESCO companies, was also invited to support and take part in the event.

The event was announced two weeks in advance through, AEE and LinkedIn networks. Agenda with brief project descriptions, and supporting materials were made available to potentially interested parties.

The FinEERGo-Dom financing mechanism is known in Bulgaria due to the activities of the Bulgarian Energy Efficiency Fund (BEEF) that offers a similar, yet more basic and form of financing. The familiarity of the attendees with similar financial instruments proved to be highly helpful as it made it easier the FinEERGo-Dom mechanism to be explained through the lens of BEEF. In addition, it was very interesting for the trainees to understand the key differences between the two mechanisms.

Real world project examples sparked vigorous discussions and invoked high levels of trainee’s engagement. A comparative study between three cases – a renovation realized with the use of FinEERGo-Dom/ESCO mechanism, another renovation realized by the homeowners themselves, and a third case in which no actions were taken, received a lot of comments and opened great discussion in the areas of different payment structures, attractiveness of the value proposition for different stakeholders, differences and similarities between buildings stock in Bulgaria and Latvia. Secondly, it was noted by the practitioners that Latvian case studies were of a smaller scale in terms of investments and size of the renovated panel buildings. While going through the presented bill of quantities, some comments about price levels were also made In the end, some building renovation case studies were discussed as well as the financial mechanisms that had been used to implement these projects.

Another key topic that raised a lot of questions was the legal framework in Bulgaria and the findings of the legal analysis conducted by the local FinEERGo-Dom team (delivered under WP4). Some of the attendees confirmed that they have experienced difficulties and problems due to the legal framework inefficiencies identified and highlighted in the FinEERGo-Dom report.