Second expert conference on energy efficiency was held on 16 September in Zagreb, Croatia, with central panel discussion “Croatia – a small country for big energy savings”.

Efficient management of energy consumption is one of the greatest challenges for the European Union. For Croatia it is also potentially very important new market where the actions taken and investments could significantly contribute to a new cycle of economic growth and job creation. In the last two and a half years only the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund (FZOEU)  has approved a total of more than 100 million € of subsidies, which directly stimulates about 210 million € investment. Such investment projects result in savings for investors and environmental benefits. Moreover, the sector of energy efficiency means creating a whole new range of products, services and activities, from design solutions and production technology to a comprehensive energy services that include monitoring the energy performance of buildings and energy systems, monitoring of energy consumption in buildings, public lighting systems, industrial plants, renewable energy systems, measurement and verification of savings, education of responsible persons, influence on the behavior of energy users.

Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, the main agency funding energy projects presented examples of good practice in the framework of the current programs for local and regional government units, for the private sector and the citizens. The funds are intended for financing the reconstruction of family houses, residential and industrial buildings, energy-efficient construction, promoting renewable energy, setting up energy-efficient street lighting, encouraging cleaner transport and purchase of energy-efficient household appliances.

Lighting is during last years the segment that is at the center of energy efficiency and the traditional lighting is increasingly replaced with LED lighting. As explained by Ranko Skansi from the company Solar Led, LED technology has been known since the 1960s but due to technological progress is suitable for use only in the last few years. This progress goes on in the direction of organic LED (OLED) lighting. It was pointed out that the big problem in the market is a broad range of prices leading to misunderstandings of local governments that are the most common buyers of lighting. A stronger education of leading people in the municipalities and cities should be made in terms of the characteristics, standards and norms of public lighting in order to better understand the needs, requirements and quality behind the price.