About this good practice
Alba Iulia has an ageing population. There are two key problems with the services for this vulnerable group: 1) the infrastructure is obsolete with inefficient energy systems from 2004, and 2) current conditions do not allow beneficiaries and staff to deploy activities, which makes the services of low quality. To address these problems, the City is expanding and modernising the Daily Center for the Elderly to provide new services and accessibility for elderly citizens while also improving the building’s energy efficiency. It is important to improve the energy efficiency of this public building to reduce the public expenses covered through the local budget and to provide seniors with a leisure space with a high degree of climate comfort. During the project, thermal insulation will be added in the walls and floors, and solar panels will be installed. As photovoltaic panels already exist, once the project is completed, the building will be able to ensure efficient climate comfort. COVID-19 caused increased prices for the materials needed to make the investment. Based on recent legal regulations, Alba Iulia Municipality had the opportunity to notify the financier about the increase in project value, and price increases will be borne by the savings recorded in the project and the local budget. Furthermore, energy prices spiked dramatically during the pandemic. This project will have a beneficial impact since it will reduce utility costs for the Center by a significant amount.
The total budget for the project, funded by the EU and national and local budgets, is 3.36 million lei (about 670,000 €). The implementation team includes 17 volunteers with involvement from representatives of specialised departments within the mayor's office, plus decisionmakers in the institution.
Evidence of success
By implementing this project, 400 beneficiaries from the Daily Center for the Elderly, 25 of which have disabilities, will benefit from activities carried out in a modernised and energy efficient building. Though energy consumption will increase due to the building expansion and reconfiguration, the photovoltaic panels produce 9000 kwh/year which will more than cover the estimated energy consumption of the new space while renovations will provide improved conditions for the city’s seniors.
Potential for learning or transfer
The intervention sought to improve the hygiene and thermal comfort conditions of the building by providing thermal insulation, modern equipment, electrical installations, and furniture adapted to elderly needs. Improvements include the replacement of existing radiators and multilayer pipes and the installation of solar panels, LED lighting, and an intelligent management system of water and temperature. The overall effects of such a project include increased energy independence, reduced maintenance costs for heating and hot water consumption, and reduced GHG emissions through renewable energy sources. Such measures are transferable to other projects in Romania or abroad, especially considering the increases in energy costs in the EU. The building will rely more on renewable sources which provides a strong argument for replicability. Also, the services provided to beneficiaries after the implementation of the project represent an added value which could be transferred to other cities.