PROSPECT Mentee from Municipality of Loures, Portugal, meets his mentor in Maribor, Slovenia to discuss advantages and posibilites of energy performance contracting (EPC) for public lighting.
Dr. Vlasta Krmelj, Director of Energy agency of Podravje, a European Energy Manager and certified expert for energy certificates for buildings has been a wonderful host in Slovenia to Dr. Fernando Noivo, Energy Municipality Manager, from Portuguese Municipality of Loures, located on the outskirts Lisbon city. The visit took place in the City of Maribor on November 22nd and 23rd. As Mr. Noivo’s planned project has been halted, we have not talked about a specific project, but rather about all general steps needed to start the procurement for EPC, as well as all necessary clauses a true EPC contract should entail.
Mrs. Krmelj explained the crucial steps in setting up an EPC, with a strong accent on not skipping any steps and making sure to have an official political decision in place before starting the preparation for procurement. After the successful procurement, it is important to form an EPC contract with all its clauses respecting the EUROSTAT guidelines on accounting rules for EPC.
After the theoretical part, on both days here was a site visit organised to nearby municipalities, in order to witness three examples of EPC realized in practice. First visit was to Municipality Radje ob Dravi, where EPC was used to refurbish an old municipality building. This scheme is interesting as it includes a public and a private owner which share the building. Also, the municipality has refurbished 486 luminaries, or almost entire public lighting through EPC, making it not only new and modern, but the lighting also changes colours in the ones chosen by citizens as the most attractive. The second day was a day for meeting an EPC project manager, Mr. Tomaž Pristovnik in Slovenska Bistrica, who shared his positive experience of implementing EPCs in 16 of their public buildings.
The visit encouraged Mr. Fernando to look at EPC from a different perspective and view the necessary refurbishments in Loures through performance they want to realize (lower costs, better standards, better durability of lamps), instead of focusing on concrete equipment or measures As Mrs. Krmelj emphasized, EPC provider is not a bank, and although bringing such a contract to life is a costly and a timely process, it brings about much more than just new equipment; EPC creates value and ensures innovative, cost-effective solutions, while taking the burden of maintenance and uncertainty whether the savings will occur from the public partner.