On May 15 – 21, 2016, representatives from Ukrainian municipalities visited the city of Brno in the Czech Republic. They spent a week touring successful energy-efficiency projects.
Following the opening remarks made by the Dean of the Faculty of Social Studies at Masaryk University, speakers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia guided participants through three learning modules.
Field trips were organized for the delegates beginning on the Tuesday with a visit to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, where they met with Mr Vladimír Sochor, Head of the Department of Energy Efficiency. In the afternoon, Mr Miroslav Marada, the financial director of ENESA, an energy services company gave a lecture on energy performance contracting. This was followed by a tour of the historical Czech Philharmonic Orchestra building in Prague, where the EPC was implemented. In the afternoon, a meeting was held with the State Environmental Fund and Ministry of Environment at the Ministry.
On Wednesday morning opportunities associated with EPC public lighting solutions was the subject of discussions in Zlín with a representative from the energy services company AKTE Zlín. The vast majority of participants showed a keen interest in public lighting. Most of the questions related to technical solutions for cities much larger than Zlín. Services and monitoring public lighting proved to be particularly popular. After lunch, the group travelled to the nearby village of Hostětín, where a number of environmental and energy-efficient projects are being implemented by Veronica, a non-governmental organization. The group toured a solar power plant, a model passive house, a biomass heating plant, another efficient public lighting installation as well as a reed-bed sewage plant. The tour ended with a visit to an environmentally-friendly apple juice plant.
On Thursday and Friday, the group visited projects in Brno and the surrounding area. On the Thursday morning, the participants visited Nový Liskovec, a district in Brno, where Jana Drápalová, the district mayor delivered a lecture on a project involving the thermal insulation of all condominiums in the district, including a tour on foot. During the lecture, participants compared the different speeds at which Ukraine and the Czech Republic are introducing energy efficient measures in the housing sector. There was also discussion on the legal improvements Ukraine is required to make to hasten progress on this issue. The afternoon was devoted to a visit to the state-owned Brněnské vodárny and Kanalizace wastewater treatment facility, organized by Keramo Steinzug, and a model passive office building in the center of Brno, which also has a sustainable garden operated by the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation. Having been informed of the benefits of pro-environmental sustainable gardening in urban architecture, participants concluded they would support similar civic initiatives in their cities and towns.
The Friday program was dominated by a visit to a waste incineration facility owned by SAKO, a municipal company that handles the waste produced by the city of Brno and the production and supply of heat as a by-product. This session was of great interest to representatives from the Ukrainian municipalities. This is hardly surprising given that waste incineration has recently become a pressing issue in Ukraine which almost completely lacks modern waste processing facilities. Ukraine has accumulated 300 tons of waste per inhabitant. In the afternoon, participants had free time to walk around the city.
The event was organized by Masaryk University and the Slovak Foreign Policy Association in cooperation with its Ukrainian partners, Foundation Strategy XXI and the Association of Energy Efficient Cities in Ukraine. The event was made possible thanks to the kind support of the International Visegrad Fund.