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«Green» transition of an apartment building

Energy transition for an apartment building is probably the most difficult process, because reaching an agreement with neighbors is not an easy matter. Especially when no other similar house in the country has passed this way. However, the
residents at 16 Bazhan Avenue had o ne motive and one advantage that made it possible. First – they had too high utility bills, higher than the rest of the houses around. Secondly, Valerii Nikitchenko, a lawyer, lived in the house and agreed to lead the energy transition and headed the condominium association, which was called «Oberig na Pozniakakh».

«There is an opinion that residents cannot influence tariffs and the cost of utilities. Our example shows that if you make an effort, everything becomes possible, – says Valerii Nikitchenko. – You should start by changing your attitude to your property. The property does not end at the threshold of the apartment. Behind the door is a house that is jointly owned. It is possible to make it better, reconstruct and customize it if you unite».

Now there are three individual heating points, thermostats and sensors on each battery, economical smart lighting, windmills on the roof and solar panels on the facade, as well as in-house charging for electric cars in the yard. Soon there will be hot water supply on energy generated by the house itself and recuperation systems
that will further increase the energy efficiency of the building.

The house was built in 2003, there are 6 sections from 17 to 24 floors, where 422 apartments are located– a total of more than 40,000 meters of heated area. For 10 years, the walls were covered with cracks, and living conditions in the house
were deteriorating. The history of the largest project to modernize an apartment building began with an energy audit. Conclusion: energy efficiency class F is the second indicator from the end. In addition, a lot of construction defects,
incorrectly assembled heating system and many other unpleasant news.

We started with the easiest thing to do. Windows and doors were installed in the entrance halls, all lamps were replaced with energysaving ones with motion sensors.
Then a more complicated affair followed. We tackled individual heating points, adjusted the system, installed the necessary equipment, thermally insulated pipes, heat exchangers and check valves. We optimized the operation of the pumps: we made them work not all at once, but each separately, as required. This saved electricity and extended the service life of the pumps.

The technical floor was reconstructed, the roof became warm. Next – insulation of facades, which lasted for 3 years. The heating system caused trouble, because it
is outdated – horizontal, i.e., there is no way to limit the meter at the entrance to the apartment. A thermostat has been installed on each battery – now residents can
adjust the comfort temperature and, if necessary, limit their utility costs. All batteries were equipped with heat distributors. Their function is to transmit temperature
information in order to accurately calculate heat charges and pay only for consumption. By the way, 90% of residents decided not to change the radiators, and use the old cast iron.

All of the above had a significant impact on costs – heat consumption decreased by 2.5 times. Thanks to significant savings on lighting, it was possible to significantly increase the number of lamps, and now both the house and the yard are well lit.
Another energy audit found that its current energy efficiency class is B.

But who will stop when such advances have already been achieved? Residents want to go further and reach class A. What is needed for this? Install recuperation systems
and replace old windows with new ones. Recuperation is a ventilation with filtration and selection of warm air – will give several advantages. Firstly, residents will stop opening windows for ventilation in winter, and secondly, in a city that is among
the most polluted cities in the world, it is better not to open windows at all. And recuperation will give fresh and pure air in each apartment.

It would be bizarre if condominiums did not pay attention to renewable energy sources. After all, only they are able to ensure the true autonomy of the house. Solar
panels with a capacity of about 150 kW were placed on the facades. The free spaces left on the sections of the house and above the parking lot allow to expand the SPP up to 400 kW. Solar energy is designed to supply heat pumps to provide hot water. Solar collectors and roof concentrators should work for the same purpose. While there is no sun in the cold seasons, they will be helped by 9 vertical wind turbines on the same roof. This will minimize the cost of hot water. Air-to- water heat pumps must be used for heating. When all the necessary equipment works, the cost of hot water will drop to UAH 50 per cubic meter, and in summer it will be almost free. The cost of heating is now 7-11 UAH per square meter.

The total cost of all energy modernization measures is about UAH 30 million. The Kyiv city program «70/30» allowed to contribute only 30% of this amount, the rest is funded by the city. As this amount is also too large for the residents, the condominium took a loan from a bank. It also created its own energy efficiency fund –the residents of the house pay UAH 3.50 per square meter per month.

The planned work should have already been completed, but the money from the Kyiv program «70/30» went to the coronavirus fund. A Condominium has to
wait until the situation changes. Recuperation and replacement of double-glazed windows will be supported by another program – «Energodim». In order to protect
their interests and increase opportunities, the Condominium Association of Kyiv was established. To increase financial opportunities for energy efficiency measures, it
will have a «revolving fund».

«Someday there will be a lot of such houses», Valerii Nikitchenko concludes. «And everyone will realize: to do so, you don't need anything incredible, you just need
the desire to get up, plan and go this way to the goal - and everyone can do it».