In most buildings that have undergone capital repairs residents still overpay for resources, mostly for heat

15 june 2015 | Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Russia has the federal target program “Energy Efficiency and Energy Sector Development” but its implementation seems to have ground to a halt. The wrong incentives were picked that are not aligned with the opinion of energy specialists and engineers, the regulations are not balanced either.

Evgeny Gasho
Evgeny Gasho
Department for Expert Analytics

“The program relies on a broad range of indicators, a total of 85, but for more than half of them no statistics are gathered so it’s pretty much impossible to assess the state of play on the implementation of the program,” the expert of the Analytical Center Evgeny Gasho told the Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Reducing the cost of resources is an interdisciplinary problem but there are at least three ministries that are responsible for it and coordination among them clearly leaves much to be desired. A special program is needed and it must include at least sorting out the utility systems within apartment buildings and analysing the existing heat and water supply systems, believes Mr. Gasho.

The problem that’s really unique to Russia is that while, unlike most other countries, 80% of energy supplied through utility systems is made up of heat and hot water, the local heat generation and distribution facilities are run by local governments that have little motivation to change anything. According to the expert, analysis of 2 thousand apartment building meters shows that emphasis in energy preservation at the level of individual apartment buildings should be made not on heat insulation, something that most efforts have been focusing on lately, but on sorting out the utility systems inside the building, including heat radiators. “Just by cleaning out the radiators you can reduce energy consumption by 25-30%,” Mr. Gasho says, citing estimates. “And on top of that modernizing utility systems is 8-9 times cheaper than overhauling the heat insulation in an entire building.” The expert is sure that if the heat distribution systems are put in order, the heating bill for an average two-room apartment in Moscow will be around one thousand rubles a month rather than 2–2.5 thousand as is the case today. And at the moment in most of the apartment buildings that have undergone capital repairs people are still getting higher utility bills, especially for heat.

New apartment buildings have the same problems, notes the expert. “Even if you have a new building that has modern heat insulation and it’s got smart thermostats and the like, there’s still heat being lost. The utility systems are in good condition but they’re often not configured right, because nobody wants to bother with that. In some buildings you can see seams glowing when you look at the through a thermal vision device, other times there’s problem in the heat distribution unit in the basement, each case is unique but there is no systemic approach to tackling the problem,” says Mr. Gasho.