REDUCE ENERGY: Energy efficiency solutions for better communities

Saving energy has not been a big topic in Moldova until recently. Russia's war of aggression has significantly worsened the situation. Moldova is 95% dependent on Russia in the energy sector and, in addition to the government, civil society must also play its part.

This project aims to contribute to Moldova's independence and its preparation for the 21st century through training, campaigns and exchanges with German experts. In ongoing training, consultants are trained to provide support on energy saving. They attend a 2-day workshop in Rîșcova, and then consult the households in their communities.

The knowledge will be deepened by a visit to Germany. At the same time, there will be debates on solar and thermal energy, thermal insulation and other energy efficiency techniques, and simple energy-saving tips for the wider public in advocacy campaigns.

The aim is to keep the topic of energy efficiency in the spotlight for the winter of 2023-2024.

The calendar of activities:

  • Workshop for energy consultants, Rîșcova, July 2023
  • Study visit to Germany, Dortmund-Kassel, August 2023
  • Thematic trainings: building envelope, solar energy systems, energy efficiency techniques, September-October 2023
  • Carrying out community energy consultancies, September-December 2023

Workshop for energy consultants

During the training in Rîșcova, EcoVillage Moldova, participants learned about energy efficiency practices and techniques that can be applied in a Moldovan household. Thus, the participants had a theoretical insight into the subject with the help of experts, but also an exchange of practical knowledge based on practices and infrastructure already existing at EcoVillage Moldova.

Study visit to Germany

The project beneficiaries had a study visit to Germany in August 2023. This involved numerous visits and exchanges of experience with local experts, who are leaders in the field of energy efficiency and use technology, innovation and resource efficiency to create an efficient system with a positive environmental impact. Here are some of those visits:

In Wolfhagen, we met Manfred Schaub, Energie 2000 project manager, who, with over 23 years of experience in energy efficiency, told us how communities can work together to produce and sell energy. So we visited a wind farm, which is run by a local cooperative, whose members told us about their experience in this project.

On the other hand, the Kassel region has amazed us with the social projects in which the community is involved. The Stromspar-Check project supports socially vulnerable and/or low-income households with consultancy and financial support to make their homes more efficient at minimal cost. Clever for the climate - a forward-looking project in which climate protection is achieved through energy savings in schools and kindergartens - sustainably and without large investments, just through resource efficiency (such as biomass heating with an automated supply system).

Although renewable energy technologies are considered innovations, they can still be combined with historic buildings, and become unique projects, as we saw at Wasserschloss Wülmersen - on the almost ruined roof of an old castle, where transparent photovoltaic panels were installed.

Another source of renewable energy is biogas plants. In Wolfhagen, 20 farmers have joined forces and created an energy cooperative where they produce both electricity and gas to heat public buildings and private homes.

In addition to the financial benefit, farmers gain valuable fertiliser and can exploit the poor quality crop, which is not saleable but suitable for energy use.

Axel Götte, a teacher of physical education from Niederelsungen, showed us his ancestors' building (a former grain warehouse and an old stable), which he renovated into a private house according to energy efficiency principles.

In Dortmund, Martin Steinestel, an energy consultant with more than 20 years' experience, showed us how a community can make considerable savings on heating with heat pumps and electricity from photovoltaic panels installed on roofs as well as insulating old buildings to avoid heat loss. Then Holger Kanschik gave us a tour with a look at the city's energy evolution over the past 150 years. We could see how Dortmund has been transformed from an industrialised city with a developed metal industry into a comfortable place to live, and for this urban planning project, Dortmund won the German Urban Development Award.

In the Viaduct Blick community we looked at a good example of combined heat and power - a complex, well-defined system that makes maximum use of fossil fuel energy (electricity and heat) and reduces CO² emissions. Community members have installed simple photovoltaic panels, connected only to the 220 V socket, and for community needs have rooftop photovoltaic panels, and green roofs, designed to absorb water and reflect the sun's rays. These practices can be implemented in Moldova to reduce consumption and increase the efficiency of heating systems.

Thematic trainings with Rainer Winkels

With over 20 years of experience in energy efficiency of residential and non-residential buildings, Rainer Winkels, an engineer by profession, came to Moldova to share best practices with those interested. The training on 28-29 October was attended by 24 people from different regions of the country interested in the topic. During the trainings participants learned about:

  • The connection between climate change and energy consumption;
  • Elements of energy efficiency in their own household;
  • Useful practices for increasing energy efficiency;
  • Tips for new and old buildings;
  • How energy consulting processes are carried out in Germany.

In addition to the 2 days of training, participants were able to benefit from other activities during the following week. Thus, they took part in a study visit to the company Grip Engineering in Goian, which presented the benefits of business investments in photovoltaic panels and thermal insulation based on their example. Likewise, the participants together with the specialist Rainer Winkels offered a free energy consultation at a household in the village of Rîșcova. The participants followed closely the process and the most current questions of the locals with reference to energy efficiency so that they are better prepared for future energy consultations in their community.

Expert Rainer Winkels added value to these trainings also by distributing information materials that are used by German specialists. These experiences have prepared the project participants to be able to provide energy consultations in their communities and to help inform citizens about the benefits of energy efficiency and insulation investments.

Anyone interested in collaborating on energy efficiency projects should contact Julian Gröger at

The project "REDUCE ENERGY: Energy efficiency solutions for better communities" funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and implemented by EcoVisio in partnership with Active Commons e.V. from Germany runs from July to December 2023 in Moldova.


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