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Video debate: Energy efficiency from micro and macro perspectives

Video debate: Energy efficiency from micro and macro perspectives

Date: May 24th 2021

Author: Alenka Lena Klopčič

Category: En.vision

Topic: Renewables , New technologies , En.vision , Energy Efficiency

The technologies are here, the know-how is here, and the future is here. This was the main message in the latest Energetika.NET video debate on energy efficiency.

The video debate, titled ‘Energy Efficiency in Slovenia from Micro and Macro Perspectives: From Households to Economy’, followed the presentation of awards for energy efficiency by the German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Slovenia on 21 April, just before Earth Day. What the shortlisted projects and companies have in common is that they have implemented the most energy efficient and innovative German technologies in buildings across Slovenia. One of the main criteria in selecting the best projects was energy efficiency and the solution employed by the project, said one of the judges, Jure Čižman of the Energy Efficiency Centre at the Jozef Stefan Institute, at the awards ceremony. According to the judges, the winning company was Menerga with its low-energy Kamnitnik nursery school in Skofja Loka. Therefore, Energetika.NET invited the chairwoman of the German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK Slovenia), Gertrud Rantzen, and Tadej Mursic of Menerga to take part in this video debate.

Sustainability must start in nursery school – and it literally did!


Vrtec Kamnitnik, Skofja Loka; arhiv Menerga;“We are honoured that our project has been picked because it really is a unique collaboration between Slovenian and German technology. In the winning project, we have managed to realise a holistic energy efficient project, including a renewable energy source (geothermal energy), and combine it with the efficient heating and cooling of the building. This Slovenian-German collaboration allowed us to make our energy needs extremely low and to cover these needs using 100% renewable sources,” explained Mursic, Menerga’s head of marketing, speaking about the solutions implemented in this project.

When talking about the aim of the Chamber’s decision to celebrate and award the best projects in energy efficiency – rather than, for example, electromobility or smart grids – Rantzen said that Germany is a world leader in the field of energy efficiency, and cutting-edge German technology is featured in different market segments, including insulation systems, insulated glazing, heating and cooling technologies, efficient home appliances, smart metering, energy-efficient lighting systems, cogeneration systems, as well as pumps and compressed air systems.

German companies generate a turnover of about USD 72bn per year in this industry.

“This is also somewhat related to the German society taking care of energy consumption. On the other hand, the Slovenian market has proven to be very open to German suppliers of energy-efficient products, systems and services,” said Rantzen, adding that “we can only be successful if we have successful cooperation.”

“Putting the user first is always correct. Hence, what is good for the user has to be good for society, and in this regard, buildings have been left behind when it comes to decreasing the carbon footprint,” said Mursic. “But these directions have been varying, whereas the technology and the know-how is here – it is just not distributed well,” he believes, adding that this should become a firm direction, one based on scientific ground.

There is great potential for energy efficiency in buildings, agreed Rantzen, adding that sustainable awareness should start in nursery schools. “Of course, there is a need for concrete guidelines and governmental support,” said Rantzen, further highlighting that we also need to start work on this at the very early stage of one’s awareness.

For people working in this sector, it is first necessary to have a common understanding of what the most sustainable solutions are, and therefore common ground in terms of what is needed. Again, the technology is already here, stressed Mursic, when talking about Slovenia’s process of following the EU’s guidelines on refurbishing building stock and the use of renewable energy sources.

“The year 2030 is already here!”


Grants were made available in Germany on 20 October 2020 for ventilation and air-conditioning systems that provide floors or entire buildings with fresh air. The state invested EUR 500m in upgrading ventilation systems, aiming to prevent the spread of Covid-19 through airborne transmission of aerosols. To put the measures in place as quickly as possible, grants are not only available for new systems, but also for the conversion and upgrades of existing ventilation equipment. However, as the conditions are very strict and many buildings do not qualify, only EUR 5m has been used so far out of the total EUR 500m. This prompted the German federal ministry for economic affairs and energy to revise the guidelines for subsidising the conversion of existing ventilation and air-conditioning systems, and as of April new terms apply.

So, what can Slovenia and other countries in southeast Europe learn from this?

1Rantzen responded to this question by saying that it always takes some time for new programmes to be implemented, especially now during the current pandemic-related times. As a small country, Slovenia can implement such programmes slightly more quickly, especially “because the technology is already here”. However, in Slovenia’s case, the issue over which ministry will take over this area is still open, she said.

In the case of the Kamnitnik nursery school, the project was completed prior to the pandemic, recalled Mursic, adding that ventilation planning, for instance, has to follow certain standards and guidelines, meaning there is no room for compromises (on account of human health; author’s note). “We see Germany as a pioneer in issuing the first tangible guidelines on ventilation taking into account Covid-19.”

Looking ahead, the EU is committed to cutting its emissions in half by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050. This will entail substantial investments in energy efficiency and increasingly ambitious targets. To this end, Rantzen expects further commitments from European leaders, as well as in terms of the economy – this has to go hand in hand. “The majority of innovation comes from the economy, and politicians will later put it into a formal framework,” she argued.

According to Rantzen, Slovenia is focusing on three pillars – smart communities, green development and green policy – however, this also needs to be brought to best practice in the economy. Again, this (economy and policy) has to go together, she stressed.

Mursic agreed that setting ambitious vision and targets is key, and this also motivates Menerga. “If we now invent the right things from a macro level, the right things will be more likely to happen,” he concluded. “The year 2030 is already here.”

The whole video debate is available HERE.




This article is available also in Slovene.



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