The Kohtla-Järve City Government and the Tartu Regional Energy Agency launched an online energy benchmarking tool for housing called “Energiamonitor”. The tool is developed in the framework of the project AREA 21 and is currently available in Estonian, Russian and English languages. The tool stores, calculates and analyses a building’s energy consumption and costs, which informs households and housing associations about a building’s need for renovation, and opportunities for energy saving potential in building upgrades.

The tool was launched in May 2019 with a training seminar for energy consultants, housing associations and citizens in the Järve Energy Improvement District (Kohtla-Järve, Estonia). The seminar was opened by the vice-Mayor Vitali Borodin, which was followed by a presentation from energy auditors on the status of housing energy use and renovation needs for the post-war area of Järve’s central district. The dwellings in this area are located in a 1950s heritage protection area and have multiple construction, maintenance and engineering issues and require full renovation.

Seminar participants were instructed by experts of the Tartu Regional Energy Agency, Antti Roose and Marten Saareoks, on how to enter energy consumption data into the online tool and how to analyze various renovation and energy saving options. Participants compared different dwelling typologies, and learnt how to share the tool’s information to a wider audience to allow for broader participation in district energy planning. For training purposes, the demonstration version of the tool was prepared to allow for comparison of dwellings, which was based on content silos that address the primary needs of housing communities, with easy to follow steps and measures for housing refurbishment.

During the seminar, the participants inserted housing data and discussed alternatives in data input, assessment and output. In the tool, the renovations for energy efficiency are classed as A, B or C. The tool takes into account energy behavior with optional measures to reduce energy consumption up to 40%. In coming weeks, further individual training sessions will be provided by the AREA 21 project experts to the housing associations and citizens in the Järve Energy Improvement District. The testing of the online tool and participatory models of energy planning will continue until the end of 2019 in Kohtla-Järve (Estonia), Tartu (Estonia), Lublin (Poland) and St. Petersburg (Russia).