Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University is the partner of the project “Act Now: Action for Energy Efficiency in Baltic Cities» (Act Now) of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014-2020. The Programme supports integrated territorial development and transnational cooperation for a more innovative, better accessible and sustainable Baltic Sea region.
The project started in October 2017 and will last till September 2020. Act Now is based on a multidisciplinary partnership of 18 partners covering the whole program region except for Belarus and Norway.
The partnership consists of two groups of partners:
- One group of partners are local authorities. They will participate in the development and testing of the Capacity Building Schemes and play the role of “laboratories” for their application.
- The other group of partners are expert partners among which is IKBFU experienced in the fields of energy efficiency, energy management and energy planning. They will develop the Capacity Building Schemes and are responsible for the coaching of the municipalities during the Capacity Building Process in a tandem approach. They create jointly and collaboratively concepts and supply specific technical input for the generation of project materials, qualification measures and conferences. Further, they work collectively for the project output and dissemination of results.
The project has actually 53 associated organization partners where Kaliningrad municipality is one of those.
The project aims at improving energy efficiency in the building stock of the project partner’ cities in BSR by enhancing the capacity of decision makers.
Local authorities play a key role in energy efficiency (EE) in the building stock. They invest in EE measures in their own properties. Skills to define and implement EE solutions and to secure funding are limited. „Act now” will show how local EE strategies and “Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs)” can be turned into concrete measures reducing energy consumption in buildings.
For this sake the project aims at the increase of capacities of municipality staff and local stakeholders who are dealing with energy issues. Core of the concept is the installation of local energy efficiency work groups consisting of municipality staff and external stakeholders. These groups will serve as local project steering groups, learning groups and as future instrument to coordinate local energy efficiency activities. The approach for capacity building is customized to the needs of each municipality since it is based on learning by doing in the given local context. Expert partners will coach the target groups and accompany the development process of a new investment in energy efficiency. A step by step approach to a smart sequence of local integrated cross-pressure actions will be defined. The customized capacity building schemes will be developed by a transnational expert team and tested in municipalities in all BSR countries. The transferable concept will be made available for municipalities in the whole BSR through guidelines and an online training program.
The approach is not only focusing on learning. It also aims at analyzing workflows and administrative structures to get rid of obstacles which hamper an effective energy management and the planning of energy efficiency measures. In addition, tools like a software-based energy management system will be implemented to identify the “low hanging fruits” and prepare investments outside the project budget. Staff members will be trained in energy management, investment planning and communication with private investors and facility users.
At the end of the Capacity Building in each participating municipality projects “ready for application” will be developed according to the local energy strategies and increased energy efficiency.