Dolyna: Ukraine’s example of ecofriendly winterization

Author : Oleksandr Lashchenko

Source : 112 Ukraine

Little town in Ivano-Frankivsk region held a massive thermal upgrading of the housing and switched to local fuels
09:23, 13 October 2016

Read the original text at

Over the last decade, a small district center Dolyna, Ivano-Frankivsk region, achieved significant results in improving energy efficiency.

City winterized and replaced windows in half of public sector buildings, transferred 60% of generating capacity with the use of gas for local waste wood. Three of the five kindergartens obtain warmth from alternative sources of energy and hot water - from the sun.

In the town live 20 thousand inhabitants, there a few main streets. However, most of the houses are neatly painted, and sometimes on the roofs are glittering solar collectors. This picture is more associated with German, Danish or American cities. However, this is Ukraine. This is Dolyna.

This is the first and currently the only city in the country, which was certified with energy-efficient systems management of European standard.

At one time the city was forced to completely abandon the centralized heating.


Related: Man tried to smuggle 250 kg of radioactive metal from Chornobyl

The population paid only 20% of the activities of the thermal upgrading houses. This is made possible by the ability of local authorities to work with the community and international investors and European donors. No less important role played by the community's ability to negotiate.

Perhaps Dolyna has not yet reached the level of energy efficiency of major European cities, but definitely closer to international best practices than most other Ukrainian cities.

Step 1. Team

Obviously, to achieve these results you need to create a team that initially develops a plan, implements it, and report on the results.

The team should consist not only of qualified, but also creative people able to find creative solutions. "The new team includes yesterday's students, young professionals. Average age of local civil servants in the office of the City Council is 34 years. I am the oldest here, I'm 53," says the mayor.

The indicator for Ukraine is really incredible. For comparison, the average age ofMember of Parliament - 45 years of deputies - 40 years.

Deputy Mayor Volodymyr Smoliy began working as a manager in late 2008 at the 22 years of age. Then began active negotiations with donors.

Related: Radio Liberty: Fire in Chornobyl exclusion zone poses no threat to objects of Chornobyl NPP

"Nobody knew how to write a grant for projects. But we had a good level of motivation and education. Motivation - not in the financial sense. Salary expert council was 3 thousand UAH, now it is 4-4,5 thousand UAH," says Smoliy.

Professional staff in the town was hard to find, experience mined in the work and training courses. Most Dolinians traveling to Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk, there are trips abroad. The current city energy manager Natalia Holovata is in the US on an exchange program experience.

Step 2. Fundraising

Integrated energy modernization requires considerable investments, because without outside financial assistance Dolyna would not cope. The first grant city received in 2008 within the framework of the UN.

Dolyna continues working on this scheme, grant - competition - work. All activities are conducted on the basis of co-financing, but a small percentage of citizens. In 2011, the city took a loan of Nordic Environment Finance Corporation - NEFKO. It provides financial support of environmentally important projects in Central and Eastern Europe, but has strict requirements for project selection.

"Dolyna was chosen because lodged an interesting application that met program criteria. In addition, the positive development was joining the city to the EU project "Covenant of Mayors" and participate in the Association of Energy Efficient Cities of Ukraine," said the NEFKO investment adviser in Ukraine Yulia Shevchuk.

In 2012, the valley received 115 thousand euro grant aid from the EU. These funds have been invested in modernization of energy museum and school.

The largest amount Dolyna raised in 2015 - 772.6 thousand euros in EU project "Sustainable urban demonstration projects - SUDeP". City-winners receive funds for energy modernization only if undertake to advise anyone who wants to learn more about their experience.

Back in 2008, Dolyna became a member of the Association of Energy Efficient Cities of Ukraine. In 2009, it joined the Covenant of Mayors. It is the initiative of European cities who take their own voluntary commitments to increase energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources.

Participants should develop long-term agreement "energy development plans" by 2020. Dolyna residents completed work on its plan as early as 2011. It envisages reducing carbon emissions by 20%.

Why these agreements and programs so important? They showed that the city works for the future. This was a signal to investors and international partners.

Many Ukrainian cities underestimate the possibilities of international cooperation and raising finance, including donor. And because of lack of any documents that would determine the energy strategy of urban development, raising finance becomes a real problem.

Step 3. Mobilizing communities

To win over the citizens is the most difficult task. Especially in the case of joint ownership, particularly of apartment buildings. For warming the house, where it was created condominiums, the consent of two thirds of the residents.

Related: Russia is afraid of biotechnologies

According to opinion polls conducted in autumn 2015 by order of the City Council of Dolyna, 46% of citizens did not know how much money they are willing to spend on insulation and 26% were not ready to invest more than 3 thousand UAH. For comparison, the market price of insulation angular one-room apartment is 22 thousand USD.

Finally, 89% of respondents said that not even once thought about reducing their costs for heating and electricity.

Local authorities have connected all possible resources: the leaflets at entrances, organized meetings of residents, topical material appeared in local newspapers and on radio.

So Dolyna has winterized thanks to the EU at the expense of taxpayers. Participants began to feel a collective responsibility. "When people give money then seek to control their use, they  are organizing and observing the process," says the mayor.

The vast majority of participants remained satisfied.

Sometimes residents flatly refused to pay the bills. Then either team had to divide this amount among themselves, or appear interested single person willing to pay someone else's debt.

For example, an entrepreneur Jaroslav Nosovych that has a pharmacy on the premises of the ground floor flats, paid the bills for several apartments. Interestingly, in such cases sooner or later the debtors returned the money - or because remorse, or because of the pressure of public morality.

By the way, in European countries the problem is solved otherwise. In the EU, through such behavior, people in court are denied the right of residence. Ukraine still needs to work on legislation. Thus, Dolyna has achieved modernization and did not stop. The city introduced a system of energy management, because nothing will provide energy savings in the event of their irrational use.

The system operates on the basis of the domestic online product that every day monitors the energy consumption of public sector institutions.

Related: War-torn Donbas faces threat of ecological disaster

The program not only creates a database, but also compares the figures for the same period last years. So you can see fallen or increased consumption.

Dolyna also introduced several initiatives in resource management. For example, optimized public transit, bike routes, GPS-beacons installed on a special transport, which takes out the garbage to track its movement and fuel consumption.

Such initiatives are all over Europe, but in Ukraine, only 50 cities work in such a regime.

Система Orphus

If you find an error, highlight the desired text and press Ctrl + Enter, to tell about it

see more