Log on to the C4E Forum For Energy Efficient Inspiration

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

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Ondrej Sramek. [Knauf Insulation]

Looking for provocative opinions and dynamic new approaches to energy efficiency in Central and Eastern Europe? Searching for an interactive way to share innovative ideas that could inspire real future change in the region?

Ondrej Sramek is the Corporate Affairs Director, Eastern Europe, at Knauf Insulation.

Then please join us at the Central & Eastern European Energy Efficiency Forum (C4E). Since 2016, this unique event has been bringing together a diverse mix of speakers, experts and participants from sustainability organisations, NGOs, national governments, businesses and the European Commission to showcase new energy efficiency ideas, strategies and innovations across the CEE region.

This year the three-day event is from September 21-24 and although we have reached sold-out capacity for those attending in person, we are offering would-be participants the opportunity to enjoy the event online by registering at the website.

30% of participants are from the public sector

So, why should you attend? Well, first and foremost, the event is a magnet for policymakers. What sets our forum apart is that more than 30% of C4E participants are from the public sector. This means energy efficiency policy issues and ideas are actively discussed with the people who shape them.

Secondly, there is nothing else like this in the region. The C4E attracts participants from more than 20 countries because it is the only forum of its kind to focus specifically on Central and Eastern Europe. And when it comes to those attending, this is an important factor. More than 70% of our participants are from CEE countries.

These two aspects have been critical to the C4E’s success because the forum provides a unique opportunity to exchange region-specific ideas through plenaries, workshops and, most importantly, interactive panel sessions. These sessions are particularly rewarding because rather than passively listening to a presentation, they offer the opportunity for real-time exchange of ideas and feedback.

If, for example, specialists discuss how Czechia has accelerated its single-family home renovation programme by 30% (just one of this year’s almost 20-panel discussions), could a similar scheme work in other countries in the region? This is your chance to find out.

Controversial ideas sessions

This year panel topics include how to draft long-term renovation strategies, green finance for sustainable homes, alleviating energy poverty, removing barriers to renovation, municipal renovation strategies, air quality and health, climate policies, the need for more training in energy efficiency and near-zero energy buildings (NZEB) among many others. We are also planning “controversial ideas sessions” where we tackle energy efficiency topics from a more opinionated perspective.

In addition to these themes, members of Knauf Insulation’s public affairs team including myself, Katarzyna Wardal, Peter Robl and Quentin Galland will also be joining panel sessions on topics such as finance for renovation and innovative advocacy.

At C4E we are exceptionally proud of what we have achieved through these sessions. In a survey of those attending our last event in 2018, a total of 97% of participants said they learned something new with an average rating of 3.5 out of four for the parallel sessions. Equally significantly, participants reported making on average nine new connections helping to strengthen the CEE energy efficiency community.

Challenges of post-COVID recovery

Of course, the forum also comes at an exciting time for Europe and will offer valuable insight into the European Commission’s ‘Fit For 55’ package of energy efficiency strategies, national Recovery Plans, the Green Deal, Renovation Wave and the forthcoming revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

All these developments offer the CEE region a wide range of opportunities as well as challenges against a background of post-COVID recovery and an accelerating construction industry. How can those vast sums of recovery money be spent in the most effective way? How can you easily renovate a historic public building to near-zero energy standards? How do you navigate skills and materials shortages?

The questions are endless, but I am confident that if energy efficiency innovation is important to you, you will find plenty of answers in the C4E Forum. I look forward to welcoming you online on the 21st.

Plenary focus

‘The Green Deal: How Do We Make It Work For CEE Buildings’ will be the subject of the forum’s plenary sessions with speakers including Zuzana Čaputova, President of Slovakia, Advisor to the Slovak President, Norbert Kurilla, Allen Coliban, Mayor of Brasov, Borbély László, Romania’s State Counsellor at Romania’s Department of Sustainable Development, Sasa Galonja, Head of the Construction Division at the Slovenian Environment Ministry, and Paula Pinho, European Commission Director for DG Energy Directorate B – Just Transition, Consumers, Energy Efficiency and Innovation

C4E support

The C4E Forum is a joint initiative of Chance for Buildings and European Climate Foundation and is sponsored by Knauf Insulation, Rockwool and Velux. Contributing partners are the Clean Air Fund, the European Alliance to Save Energy, the European Insulation Manufacturers Association, EuroACE and ROENEF. Endorsing partners are Renovate Europe, the Romania Green Building Council and the PLGBC. The event is being held in Romania in cooperation with local partner Pro-nZEB Cluster.

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