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