Cutting costs comfortably: A model renovation project in Resen

First energy-efficient municipal building in Prespa (Photo: UNDP/Stefanov)

“It’s pretty ironic,” says Naume Tashovski, a civil servant in the Municipality of Resen, “Our energy bills used to be much higher but the building was much less comfortable. There were a lot of draughts and temperatures in the offices were very unpredictable. But things are looking up now.”


Naume works together with some 150 staff in the premises of the main administrative offices of the Municipality of Resen. Built in the early 1970s, the offices cover over 2,500 square metres and were originally heated using both electricity and oil.


“In general the costs of heating buildings represent a substantial chunk of municipal energy budgets,” Naume explains. “But the energy costs of heating our main offices were especially high due to the age and outdated design of the building. In some places, there were still asbestos tiles in place, which posed a serious threat to the health of our employees. We were very aware of the contradiction involved in trying to promote greater energy efficiency while our own building was extremely inefficient, expensive and environmentally harmful. It was a problem we had to face.”


To tackle this problem, the Municipality partnered with UNDP to design a project for improving the energy efficiency of the building. Together the project team swiftly agreed that nothing less than a complete refurbishment would do.  


“We set about a total re-design,” says UNDP Prespa Project Manager Dimitrija Sekovski, “reconstructing the heating system in line with state-of-the-art methods for increasing energy efficiency, renovating all the windows, doors, roofs and even the facades of the building. And, of course, we removed all the asbestos tiles and replaced them with natural, healthy and energy-efficient materials.”


Three months since the project began, the offices of the Municipality of Resen are now fully energy-efficient—making this the first-ever entirely energy-efficient municipal building in the Prespa region.


"The effects of the renovation are already obvious to all of us,” says Naume.“The building is a much more comfortable place to work now."


The Mayor of Resen, Gjoko Strezovski, has warmly welcomed the completion of the project. "Thanks to this investment,” he says, “we will be able to achieve savings of 20,000 USD per year. Plus we have a much healthier working environment. This is a great model for future renovation projects.” He already committed the municipality to investing the savings brought about by the project to help fund jobs at the new lake monitoring station and cover the fuel costs of the new water-monitoring boat. “The money we’ve saved on heating will help protect our most valuable heritage of all,” he says. “And that is the beautiful Prespa Lake.”


UNDP has been working closely with the Municipality of Resen for many years now, above all in close cooperation on a major project to help restore the health of the vulnerable ecosystem of the Prespa Lake Basin, with the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.


This comprehensive restoration project for the Lake Prespa basin has already achieved some remarkable results, including the recent establishment of the region’s first composting plant. The plant has just produced its first high-quality organic compost, making optimum use of the biodegradable waste that farmers previously dumped in and around the shores of the lake at great environmental cost.  


And this year will see the implementation of a number of measures to restore the wetlands in the lake basin. Once the wetlands have been restored, the resulting increase in the growth of reeds will allow for further biomass to be taken to the composting station. Its potential use as an alternative source of energy will also be explored to secure additional funding for environmentally-friendly investments in the Prespa region.

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