Saint Kiril and Methodius Primary School building

Location: Gabrovo, Bulgaria

Population: 62,938

Climate: Continental climate

Duration: 2015-2016

Sector: Buildings

Funding sources: Public

City networks: Covenant of Mayors

Savings: Savings of 62% on Primary Energy Demand for blocks A, B, C compared to the original scenario.

Solutions: Implementation of a refurbishment plan.

Multiple benefits: Savings in heating and energy demand.

Gabrovo has a long history of energy efficiency. In the last six years, seven schools and 15 kindergartens have received standard Energy Efficiency (EE) improvements. The Municipality now seeks to define the new nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) standards. In Gabrovo, the first Passive House in Bulgaria was built in 2013. This project aims to construct a model for restoring an old building to the current NZEB standard. Choosing a school as a pilot project, the Municipality intends to set an example and boost community awareness [source].

Objective – Develop a Refurbishment Plan in a primary school building in Gabrovo.

Solutions – The owner of the public building (Gabrovo Municipality) and the designer (Center for Energy Efficiency EnEffect) created a plan for the refurbishment and a schedule for implementation. Kindergarten Sun in Gabrovo became Bulgaria’s first Passive House in 2013. The “St. Kiril and Methodius” project aimed to provide a model for refurbishing old buildings to the new NZEB standard. A Step-by-Step approach was chosen for the refurbishment to increase both energy efficiency and air quality,

When selecting a school for a pilot project, the Municipality intended to set a good example and boost community awareness. The designer (Center for Energy Efficiency EnEffect) was the most crucial factor in this business model because he was in control of the entire renovation plan. The owner had an essential role, being responsible for the whole project. According to the initial concept, the owner involved various contractors in the remodelling project in sequential phases. The owner and the designer shared the design risk, while different contractors handled the construction risks connected with each task.

Furthermore, this business case is made up of three blocks: A, B, and C. A passageway on the ground floor connects the Gym (Block D) to the other blocks. The building constructed in 1970 is made of concrete with external brick walls (25 cm) and a flat double ventilated roof. The school has been connected to the central gas heating system since 2013.

Funding – The overall cost of the building’s refurbishment was 1,25 million euros. The European Commission, as part of the EuroPhit Project, sponsored 70% of the investment.

Innovation – Building owners with limited financial resources can spread the investment expenditures for interventions over a more extended period thanks to the step-by-step renovation. The Step-by-Step rehabilitation model is a widely used building refurbishment plan that entails repairing or replacing various building components, such as windows, plasterwork, roof covering, and boiler, based on life expectancy. One advantage of such a method is that it maximises the use of each building component, allowing the initial investment to be maximised.

Success factors – 1) The designer was the essential participant in this business model since he was in charge of the entire refurbishment plan, including the various tasks to be taken and the schedule; 2) Sharing the risk among the owner, designers, and contractors; 3) EU and/or local government economic incentives have been used. Support from EU funds appeared to be a key feature for the business case under consideration.

Significant outcomes:

After the retrofitting:

  • A reduction of 90% on heating demand and a reduction of around 62% on Primary Energy Demand for blocks A, B, C;
  • A drop of about 50% for heating demand for block D;

Synergies with local policies:

  • Municipal Development Plan of Gabrovo Municipality 2014-2020. The development of a “green economy” through the improved energy efficiency of manufacturing buildings and equipment is addressed under specific objective 8.3. [source].
  • Programme for Environmental Protection. Gabrovo is now developing an Environmental Protection Program as part of the city’s Municipal Plan for Development, showcasing its commitment to energy and climate planning [source].

 Political alignment:

  • Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan for Bulgaria. The National Energy and Climate (ENCP) Plan is a ten-year integrated plan that the European Union has required of its member states to fulfil the EU’s overall greenhouse gas emission targets. Decarbonisation aims to enhance renewable energy sources in three major sectors: electricity, transportation, and energy for heating and cooling [source].


The analysis of the application of One-Stop-Shop Business Model based on Step-by-step approach provides potential recommendations/best practices for the whole refurbishment process.

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Sector: Finance

Country / Region: Bulgaria

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In 1 user collection: Good practices of cities

Knowledge Object: User generated Initiative

Published by: Renovation Hub: The collaborative platform for the energy-efficient renovation of buildings