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Transformative Mindset Course

Module 4.

Building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way


Maria Burulyanova


Burgas Municipality


Objectives of the training module include:

  1. understanding the concept of building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way;

  2. understanding why it is important to build and renovate in an energy and resource efficient way;

  3. familiarisation with the ways of building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way;

  4. showing how individually contribute to build and renovate in an energy and resource efficient way?

  5. Showing example and good practices of building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way at the city level.

Training module will:

  • explain the fundamentals of building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way;

  • provide a basis for building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way;

  • access a wide range of resources to build on the skills and knowledge developed in the field of building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way.


What is:

  • “Renovation wave” The European Commission has published in 2020 its Renovation Wave Strategy to improve the energy performance of buildings. The Commission aims to at least double renovation rates in the next ten years and make sure renovations lead to higher energy and resource efficiency. This will enhance the quality of life for people living in and using the buildings, reduce Europe's greenhouse gas emissions, foster digitalisation and improve the reuse and recycling of materials. By 2030, 35 million buildings could be renovated and up to 160,000 additional green jobs created in the construction sector.

  • “Positive energy building”  a building that produces more energy than what it consumes thanks to on-site renewable energy sources, (producing electricity, covering their heating and cooling needs and contributing to the energy grid stability) with sustainable, renewable energy technologies;

  • “Sustainable green neighborhood” is a neighbourhood that allows for environmentally friendly, sustainable patterns and behaviours to flourish (e.g. soft and zero-emission mobility, renewable energy, bioclimatic architecture, etc.). The Federal Department of Town and Country Planning defines it as “a neighborhood that is planned to be integrated with priority to the protection and use of natural resources, application of green technology, green practices and recycling, with the aim of preserving the environment, improving public health, safety, and general welfare of city residents”

  • “Living labs”  is an approach whereby citizens, inhabitants and users are considered as key players in the innovation process. Such approaches are particularly relevant for innovation targeting the establishment and sustainment of green neighbourhoods, as is the case with the scope of this call. ( incl. social housing and non-residential buildings such as hospitals, schools, public buildings, commercial buildings etc.) with additional urban functionalities (e.g. shared EV charging facilities).

Sources: ;;

Using Mesh Bag




Case Study 1:

Burgas Municipality

Burgas Municipality

The city of Burgas is the fourth biggest city in Bulgaria and the second-largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. 

Burgas is the most important economic, logistic and tourist municipality in south-еastern Bulgaria. The city has a favorable geostrategic location and natural biodiversity assets. It is situated on a wide bay and important part of its territory is covered by three wetland comprising ecological network NATURA 2000

"The transition to climate neutrality also requires smart infrastructure."

Fifteen years ago, the Bulgarian town of Burgas was extremely energy inefficient, leading to very high energy costs for local authorities and citizens, as well as poor living conditions and environmental inequality.

Today Burgas is a smart, energy efficient city implementing the most up-to-date energy approaches and measures, thereby demonstrating the power of local authorities to drive sustainable change.

Upgrading public and residential buildings for a greener future

One of the first and largest tasks that the municipality undertook was the retrofitting of all public and an impressive number of  residential buildings in the city: By the end of 2019, all publicly owned buildings in Burgas as well as more than 250 privately owned ones had been retrofitted with the support of EU funds, its own budget and Bulgaria’s Energy Efficiency of Multi-Family Residential Buildings National Programme, which has been running for five years. This national programme enabled many of Burgas’s lower-income residents to participate in the project, enjoying maximum benefits.

The retrofitted buildings are now much more energy efficient, which decreased emissions and reductions of up to 30% in residents’ energy bills. Furthermore, smart energy meters have been installed in private and public buildings to monitor energy use and find potential for further reduction. In an area of Bulgaria where energy poverty is a considerable problem, this is a significant improvement for citizens and contributes to the municipality’s aim of implementing inclusive sustainability measures. It is planned to integrate a Sustainable Energy Management System across the newly renovated buildings to collect data with a view to improving the buildings’ energy efficiency even further.

Apart from residential housing stock, the municipality is also retrofitting all of its municipal buildings, including educational, cultural and sports buildings, to improve their energy efficiency. Children, young people and teachers have benefitted from the retrofitting of 98% of kindergartens and schools, and local businesses have benefitted from investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, which in turn has helped them to develop and grow.

Burgas Culture Center

Burgas Culture Center

Expo Center Flora, Burgas which now has solar energy panels as well as green walls and a green roof. This building will be a model for future construction.

Citizen involvement as a key municipal action strategy

One particularly notable aspect of the energy transition in Burgas is the city’s effort to proceed in a democratic manner. The municipality values the input of citizens that are affected by the measures being implemented and regularly organises focus group discussions regarding any planned decisions. Apart from residents, participants include business, universities, NGOs, and state, regional and local public bodies, in an effort to bring all relevant stakeholders together. Focus group discussions have so far been organised about sustainable energy management, building retrofitting, mobility, smart IT street solutions and street lighting.

Burgas Municipality implements smart solutions in almost all municipal schools and kindergartens. 

Currently, the Municipality is implementing a project "Increasing the energy efficiency of residential and public buildings to reduce the carbon footprint of the city of Burgas". The project develops a concept for low-carbon development of the city of Burgas, and includes a series of measures and activities that will be implemented in residential and public buildings, as well as comfortable lighting.

The development of the concept will allow the Municipality of Burgas to have a clear action plan for the implementation of energy efficiency measures and recovery of energy sources.   

Additional materials & sources of information

Worth to see:

Literature and sources of information:

Energy and the Green Deal – A clean energy transition -


Renovation wave - Renovating the EU building stock will improve energy efficiency while driving the clean energy transition -


EU policies on energy efficiency finance and energy efficiency dimension of the EU Recovery -

EIO – Eco Innovation Observatory brief #4 – Resource efficient construction: A systemic approach to sustainable construction -

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