The residential sector is one of the major consumers of energy in many countries. In Armenia, for example, it accounts for 33% of total energy use. Rising fuel prices will bring substantial affordability challenges for low-income customers to heat their homes. According to UNECE research, at least 30% of the population in the country can be considered energy poor.
In a number of countries in the region, governments are providing support measures for socially vulnerable groups through subsidies, however in the longer term, there is no alternative to improving the energy performance of public and residential buildings. In addition to reducing citizens’ energy costs for individuals and their families, improving energy efficiency is vital for climate action and to reduce pollution.
On 9-11 March 2022, the conference “Unveiling Market Opportunities for Boosting Residential Energy Efficiency and Alleviating Energy Poverty” was held in Yerevan, Armenia. The conference was jointly organized by UNECE, Habitat for Humanity Armenia, and UNDP in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Habitat for Humanity International.
The main goal was to explore the key market drivers for scaling up investments in energy efficiency, which lead to alleviation of energy poverty. The event focused on policies, projects and practices that create enabling legal environment for the renovation and maintenance of multi-apartment building stock; identified financial mechanisms that provide sustainable and scalable access to finance for the energy upgrade of buildings; and showcased tools and system changes that support implementation of energy efficiency measures in residential buildings.
The conference brought together key experts from North America, Western, South-Eastern, and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia to exchange knowledge and best practices of policy and legislative reforms and financial mechanisms that trigger investments in energy efficiency in buildings.
In the framework of the conference, UNECE organized several workshops. On 10 March, the training workshop on Guidelines and Best Practices in Armenia for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in delivering energy efficient products and in providing renewable energy equipment presented findings of the report for Armenia. It aimed to strengthen the capacity and resilience of MSMEs to mitigate the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The workshop, which discussed examples of best practices in the area of energy efficiency and renewable energy relevant for Armenian MSMEs, was organized jointly with the Ministry of Economy of Armenia and UNDP Armenia. Armenia is one of six pilot countries for which customized Guidelines and Best Practices have been developed under the UN Development Account project “Global Initiative towards post-Covid-19 resurgence of the MSME sector.”
On 11 March, the workshop on Best Practices to Address the Issues of Energy Efficiency in Buildings and their Implementation in the UNECE member States discussed findings of the regional and national studies on implementation of energy efficiency standards in the countries, presented results of training on high-performance energy efficiency standards in buildings, and shared activities to enhance the network of experts from the public and private sectors on energy efficiency in buildings in the UNECE region. The participants discussed extensively how the developed best practices and guidelines can be better implemented.
A workshop on outcomes of the project “Global Initiative towards post-Covid-19 resurgence of the MSME sector: Guidelines and Best Practices for MSMEs in delivering energy efficient products and in providing renewable energy equipment” presented findings of the regional and national Guidelines and Best Practices for MSMEs in delivering energy efficient products and in providing renewable energy equipment and results of the training workshops. Participants from project pilot countries, including Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, North Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, and other UNECE member States exchanged experience and shared ways to support MSMEs in this area.
UNECE is working closely with its member States to help create enabling mechanisms for improving energy efficiency in buildings. One of the ways to achieve this result is to strengthen capacity of national authorities, building sector professionals, homeowner associations and other relevant stakeholders to develop and implement advanced energy efficiency standards in buildings and introduce energy efficient technologies at the national and sub-national levels.