Over the past five years, the local administration of Sector 3 in Bucharest has made itself national champion in the energy renovation of blocks of flats. The team led by the mayor, Robert Negoiță, has managed to access the bulk of the Structural Funds earmarked for energy renovation: 85% of all European funds assigned to Romania under this heading.
"Since 2012, around 1 200 blocks of flats have been renovated in Bucharest's Sector 3 through access to European funds and the local programme. In five years, Sector 3 has become the country's top urban district in terms of number of blocks of flats which have been made more energy efficient – and this was possible because the local administration responded to what residents really need," said Mr Negoiță. In 2012, the Sector 3 team made accessing European funds an absolute priority, particularly as regards energy renovation. Starting from the premise that Romania must use the funds made available by the EU, the Sector 3 administration has worked hard to ensure that European funds are used for the benefit of its local residents. During this period, Mr Negoiță held over 500 meetings with local residents to explain just how accessing European financing programmes could help.
Through projects to make the blocks of flats more energy efficient, teams of workers in Sector 3 have worked on both building envelopes and heating systems. Energy renovation of heating systems involves changing the furnace and installing an integrated electronic system which controls the temperature for the entire building. Energy renovation of the building envelope involves insulating the external walls, replacing external woodwork (including in the entrance area), insulating terrace areas, insulating the top-floor ceiling if the building has a frame, closing in balconies using insulated woodwork (including the railings) and insulating the basement ceiling.
As regards the costs involved in making these blocks of flats more energy efficient, 60% of the total cost of a project approved for energy renovation was covered by European funds, with the remaining 40% covered by Sector 3's budget and homeowner associations. Insulation combined with the new electronic temperature control system has reduced the blocks' heating bills by around 40%. Energy renovation has also reduced energy consumption for heating, making flats warmer in winter and cooler in summer. With this project, Sector 3 has become, in just a few years, one of the most modern and attractive districts in Romania's capital city. Energy renovation of blocks of flats is one of the measures undertaken by the mayor, Robert Negoiță, to make Sector 3 a "smart city".