“Energy efficiency is not an expense but an investment” is the slogan of the final forum of the EU-funded project Smart Schools. The cross-border cooperation project gathered on 12 June experts from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to improve the energy efficiency of seven schools in Tuzla Canton and Brod-Posavina Country in Croatia.
“With the project Smart School we have been able to demonstrate that besides the significant financial savings that energy efficiency brings, we have contributed to improvement to the quality of life of our students. We have invested efforts in education and raising awareness, considering that our analysis showed that for every invested euro, the return is 1.5 times more,” said Adi Tanović from the Centre for Development and Support, the lead project partner.
One hundred and five primary and secondary schools participated in the competition in energy efficiency, forty-two educators were trained in energy management and nineteen young innovators were supported through the project activities. Primary and secondary schools in Tuzla, Kladanj, Srebrenik and Gradačac had their facades renovated and additional infrastructural works were conducted, which saved the schools around 40% in heating costs after just one season.
“The European Union and member states invest significant efforts in energy efficiency and raising awareness of renewable sources of energy,” remarked Ljubomir Majdandžić, professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and IT in Osijek. “Annually, the European Union imports 420 billion euros worth of energy, mostly oil, gas and electrical energy, and we can all contribute to decrease in use. According to EU estimates, public institutions like kindergartens, schools, hospitals and government buildings should be renovated and over 3% of those buildings should be renovated in accordance with the energy efficiency guidelines of the EU,” observed Majdandžić.
Osman Puškar, Minister of Economy of Tuzla Canton praised the project results, in particular the international cooperation and cooperation with the non-governmental sector. “Tuzla’s Cantonal government has recognised the value and importance of such projects, and their contribution to attracting foreign investment and European funds. This project demonstrates that we can work better, be more efficient and achieve higher results. We want to work together with the NGO sector and implement projects that will improve the living standards of our citizens,” said Minister Puškar.
The innovative approach to Smart Schools is a cross-border cooperation project of the INTERREG IPA CBC programme in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, financed by the European Union with 1.6 million euros.