The pilot site is located in the city of Ruse, the fifth largest city in Bulgaria. It includes two buildings, with 120 dwellings and a total surface of 8,269 m². Dwellings are heated using Electricity. The buildings have been built in 1999 and 2001 and are owned by the municipality`s company ‘Zhilfond’.
48 dwellings with different surface areas varying from 46 m² to 100 m² have been equipped with BECA solution. BECA service was offered to 126 tenants of different age groups and with different educational level (medium and high), most of them Bulgarians and generally with internet access at home. By logging into the web portal tenants are able to get real-time information on their amount of electricity and water consumed. In addition, tenants receive automatic personalized tips to optimise their consumption behaviour for saving energy resources. When necessary, face-to-face meetings were organized with tenants who encountered difficulties in using the web portal or ICT technologies. At the experimental site, main metering devices for electricity and water were installed in the communal spaces, as well as electricity meters for the elevators and the communal space lighting.
Tenants have access to the following services:
- Web portal for consumers, providing energy and water consumption information for each dwelling.
- Monthly electronic reports with recommendations on the resource consumption.
- Graphical comparison of the energy consumption with previous periods and similar households.
The EMS is focusing mainly on energy coaching and personal energy and water saving advices for heavy consumers. It includes:
- Monitoring electricity and cold water by internal and external experts in order to provide advises on the optimization of the systems and uses.
- Based on periodic information about the consumed energy and water of the targeted group dwellings, AMEA and experts from the University of Ruse implemented statistical analyses. AMEA experts that did the energy coaching have proposed energy and water saving measures to optimize the resource consumption, including the decrease of peak energy consumption. The best practices from other BECA partners and other projects were introduced to the tenants.
BECA helps tenants to stay informed about their daily consumption of water and electricity and to change their behaviour. The BECA service provides savings tips based on their consumption behaviour and allows tenants to validate changes by customising the intervals at which data is displayed. Furthermore, tenants appreciate the feature of being informed of daily cost of consumption since the price varies throughout the day and effort is required for calculation. In Bulgaria, energy efficiency efforts are a new development and the specialised internet portal set up for tenants (www.beca-ruse.eu) provided helpful information and useful advices on energy saving measures for all consumers. In this context, BECA provides a broad database which can be used by researchers, developers and technical designer to facilitate energy saving measures in future efforts. The housing provider considers BECA as an important tool and savings achieved contribute to the targets set by the municipality. In comparison, similar services from suppliers only inform their staff members and data is only read on monthly bases to minimise costs.
The path for socio-economic return is almost steadily increasing and crosses the point of return after around two years. The baseline scenario (Do-Nothing) includes all relevant costs and benefits. Since the Tenant has almost no costs compared to the current situation, he fully benefits from the savings achieved with BECA. The Measurement provider, on the other hand, cannot catch up with the initial cost of implementation. However, the graph clearly shows that the point of break-even is coming closer over time. Shifting the path upwards by demanding a higher initial fee from the Tenant or a yearly fee for the service – hereby increasing the slope of the curve – could easily lead to a positive result. Given the much higher total amounts the Tenant is saving, it would not endanger his positive outcome.
In the coming two years, the BECA is likely to be implemented in the student dormitories being part of the University of Ruse. The dormitories consist of 6 buildings and 610 dwellings. They are inhabited by over 1,800 students every year. Further replication can be achieved at a national level if the hostels project is successful. The software developed for the BECA services is being offered to utility companies and local energy providers which will have to gradually update the current metering equipment and install remote metering devices. In this context will be used in the extended Ruse Area in related project for achieving energy efficiency. This also includes the cross-border development programme Romania – Bulgaria in which all the BECA pilot site partners have previous experience.
Ruse is the fifth largest city of Bulgaria with approximately 170,000 inhabitants, located in the North-East of the country at the river of Danube. In BECA the municipality of Ruse involves the municipal owned company “Jilfond” that hosts and maintains the selected buildings, and works together with UniRuse and AMEA to set up the pilot site in Ruse.
The Association “Municipal Energy Agency - Ruse” activities focus on methodologies and tools for the reduction of CO2 emissions in the urban environment. Since 2001, AMEA has been involved in applied research for the energy retrofitting of municipal buildings, developing analysis methodologies and tools for the application of low energy concepts in the retrofitting of municipal buildings in Ruse.
Ruse University develops the portal together with Ruse Municipality and AMEA for the Bulgarian pilot site. University of Ruse is the biggest university in Northern Bulgaria providing education to more than 10 000 students –Bulgarian and international ones in all levels of education-Bachelor, Master and PhD. Its academic staff includes around 500 well-prepared lecturers and researchers.