Smart Con­struc­tion

Reg­u­la­tions were en­acted in Be­larus on 1 April to al­low de­sign­ing only en­ergy-ef­fi­cient hous­ing

Economy of Belarus - - FRONT PAGE -

The en­ergy ef­fi­ciency topic is get­ting in­creas­ingly rel­e­vant in Be­larus and the en­tire civ­i­lized world. Lim­ited re­sources and high en­ergy costs prompt the coun­try to find ways to re­duce en­ergy con­sump­tion. An em­pha­sis is placed on res­i­den­tial hous­ing be­cause it is a ma­jor en­ergy con­sumer ac­count­ing for about 35% of all heat en­ergy con­sumed in Be­larus! Tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion that 80% of en­ergy re­sources is im­ported, heat losses trans­late into con­sid­er­able amounts of for­eign cur­rency go­ing down the drain.

Ob­vi­ous Ben­e­fits

Sci­en­tists un­der­took to chal­lenge the sit­u­a­tion. In 2007 spe­cial­ists of the Atayev Re­search In­sti­tute of Hous­ing Con­struc­tion showed what they had done: Minsk’s first en­ergy-ef­fi­cient house con­sumed sev­eral times less heat en­ergy than the neigh­bor­ing houses. The ben­e­fits were ob­vi­ous; there­fore the topic has got the spot­light in re­cent years. En­ergy ef­fi­ciency of high-rise build­ings and de­tached houses started to be dis­cussed at all lev­els. For ex­am­ple, in Fe­bru­ary Grodno hosted a sem­i­nar on turnkey con­struc­tion of de­tached houses. The sem­i­nar was at­tended by Prime Min­is­ter of Be­larus Mr Mikhail Myas­nikovich. The fo­rum started with dis­cussing the en­ergy-ef­fi­cient house built in 2009.

It took an hour to cover all the ad­van­tages of the “thrifty” house. Who would doubt! Af­ter all, heat con­sump­tion in such a house makes just 35kWh per square me­ter a year, whereas neigh­bor­hood houses show com­pletely dif­fer­ent fig­ures: a house built in the 1950s con­sumed 220kWh per square me­ter a year, a house built un­der Khrushchev con­sumed 190kWh, and a house con­structed in Brezh­nev times con­sumed 170kWh.

If we trans­late th­ese fig­ures into the lan­guage of money, we will see that res­i­dents of en­ergy-ef­fi­cient houses will pay merely Br2,000-3,000 per month or even noth­ing. This was achieved due to sev­eral fac­tors, in­clud­ing heat re­cov­ery ven­ti­la­tion, in­tro­duced with as­sis­tance of the Atayev Re­search In­sti­tute of Hous­ing Con­struc­tion.

“Heat re­cov­ery ven­ti­la­tion helps main­tain a com­fort­able tem­per­a­ture and hu­mid­ity prevent­ing damp­ness and mold,” Vice Gov­er­nor of Grodno Oblast Mr Vladimir Deshko com­mented on the ben­e­fits of the new so­lu­tion. “Res­i­dents of en­er­gy­ef­fi­cient houses pay four times less for heat sup­ply than their neigh­bors liv­ing in the houses of the same age. The dif­fer­ence can be even big­ger if the former make most of heat re­cov­ery.

All the en­ergy-ef­fi­cient houses built in Be­larus of­fer con­sid­er­able sav­ings. Th­ese houses were built in al­most all the re­gions of Be­larus un­der the aus­pices of the Ar­chi­tec­ture and Con­struc­tion Min­istry as part of the en­er­gy­ef­fi­cient hous­ing con­struc­tion pro­gram. There­fore it is ob­vi­ous that this seg­ment of de­sign and con­struc­tion needs “a restart”.

Nat­u­rally, de­vel­op­ers are pre­pared to work us­ing new stan­dards. Be­larus will soon pro­duce im­port­sub­sti­tut­ing com­po­nents for heat and en­ergy sup­ply equip­ment and cli­mate con­trol sys­tems.

“Be­larus has a pow­er­ful man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try, in­clud­ing R&D di­vi­sions. There­fore we will be able to pro­duce the suf­fi­cient amount of th­ese de­vices on our own, thus min­i­miz­ing im­port,” Mikhail Myas­nikovich said.

He noted that an en­ergy-ef­fi­cient build­ing can be rightly called “a smart house” that saves money for its res­i­dents and the state. The im­por­tance of this project should not be un­der­es­ti­mated.

To­wards En­ergy Sav­ing

Af­ter the col­lapse of the Soviet Union, Be­larus found it­self cut off from sources of raw ma­te­ri­als. Thus en­ergy sav­ing be­came a pri­or­ity of the government pol­icy, in­clud­ing in the con­struc­tion and main­te­nance of the hous­ing stock. Ini­tially, in or­der to re­duce heat losses and in­crease heat in­su­la­tion of build­ings, Be­laru­sian de­vel­op­ers in­su­lated walls and used new win­dows. En­ergy sav­ings in such houses reached 30-40%. Then all new homes in Be­larus were equipped with heat me­ters and heat en­ergy reg­u­la­tors. Later on the Atayev Re­search In­sti­tute of Hous­ing Con­struc­tion devel­oped pro­grammable heat reg­u­la­tors, which were in­stalled in all build­ings in the coun­try. Dur­ing day­time they main­tain nor­mal

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