5 Bulgarian municipalities with a project for gradual transition of households from wood and coal heating to alternative environmental heating-boiler, pellet st
The Municipality of Stara Zagora started the implementation of the project "Bulgarian municipalities work together to improve air quality" under the LIFE program 2014-2020 of the EU. Its goal is to reduce emissions of fine dust particles from domestic heating over a period of 6 years by purchasing environmentally friendly heating equipment for more than 1,000 households in Stara Zagora, selected according to certain criteria. In the end of December 2018 Agreement was signed with the coordinating beneficiary Sofia Municipality and associated beneficiaries Stara Zagora, Burgas, Ruse, Montana and Veliko Tarnovo.
The project lasts 6 years and consists of 3 phases. The first one examines the status quo by the installation of stationary measuring stations. The data from the stationary stations will be used to monitor the impact of the project, to evaluate its results, as well as to develop an early warning system for expected pollution.
The second phase includes development and testing of a scheme for transition from polluting fuel to ecological alternative forms of heating of 80 households in the city.
The last phase envisages the actual application of alternative forms of heating-boilers, pellet stoves, gasification for 1000 households in Stara Zagora. The scheme of replacing household combustion heaters with alternative, more environmentally friendly ones will be applied with advantage in the neighborhoods where the reduction of pollution corresponds to the desire for change.
The total value of the project is BGN 32.6 mln (16,6 mln EUR), of which BGN 2.9 (1,48 mln EUR) million are the costs provided for the Municipality of Stara Zagora. The co-financing for the implementation of the project activities by the Municipality is worth BGN 1.16 (593 098 EUR) mln.
Evidence of success
Although the project is not finished yet, Stara Zagora achieved good results in 2018 and 2019 in terms of reducing emissions of fine dust particles. In order to preserve and maintain what has been achieved, efforts are focused mainly on reducing emissions from domestic heating. This is a long and demanding process not only by the municipal administration, but also by the citizens. It is expected that after 6 years, when the project is completed, the pollution will decrease by 160 tons per year.
Serious challenge was the definition of criteria for selection of the households to be supported by the program.
Potential for learning or transfer
The problem of deteriorating air quality is gaining importance not only in big European cities but also in smaller towns where many people use wood and coal stoves. The joint initiative between Stara Zagora municipality (and 5 other municipalities) and Life program for replacement of old heating equipment on solid fuels with new ecological heating methods is one step further in the direction of reducing emissions of fine dust particles from domestic heating in the air in the cities, improving energy efficiency and diversification, leading to overall improvement of quality of citizens’ life – universal aim of entire EU.
This example has a good transfer potential, since addresses a common problem faced by numerous EUcities and towns – bad air quality. Moreover, the implementation of the project requires no complicated procedures, so it is easily accessible for all. The results of the campaign can easily be measured and evaluated and the benefit from it is essential for the whole society
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