Energy Efficiency

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 845–875 | Cite as

Low carbon scenarios for higher thermal comfort in the residential building sector of South Eastern Europe

  • Aleksandra Novikova
  • Tamás Csoknyai
  • Zsuzsa Szalay
Original Article


The paper presents the residential sector building typology, thermal energy balance, and scenarios prepared at several levels of sector segmentation to assist the design of low-carbon development policies for Albania, Serbia, and Montenegro. The research is breakthrough for developing Europe and could be replicated in its countries. The paper describes methodological steps and selected results. First, representative building types were identified; their energy performances by end-use, retrofit packages, as well as associated costs were assessed. Second, this information was inserted into a bottom-up simulation model prepared in the Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning System (LEAP) software. Using it, sector energy balances, the reference scenario, as well as moderate and advanced low-carbon high-thermal-comfort scenarios were prepared. The low-carbon scenarios assumed ambitious regulatory and financial policies. It was found that due to fuel poverty partial and intermittent heating is a typical situation; therefore, the thermal demand as predicted by the models applied to the different segments of the dwelling stock is much higher than its actual consumption. Also, actual consumption by energy source was found not fitting official energy balances because households use more wood and more heating systems than officially reported. In 2030, the moderate and ambitious scenarios lead to a reduction of CO2 emissions by 23–73% and 16–73% respectively versus the reference, offering however at the same time higher thermal comfort. The priority is to retrofit small buildings constructed after 1991 in Albania and those built in 1971–1990 in Montenegro and Serbia. Assuming the discount rate of 4% and counting saved energy costs as benefits, almost all scenarios are cost-effective as a whole on the country level, however not for many building categories. Therefore, not only saved energy costs but also other benefits should be monetized and compared to the scenario costs that present the next research opportunity.


Residential buildings Energy efficiency Building typology Low carbon development scenarios Fuel poverty Thermal comfort Bottom-up modeling South East Europe 



Austrian Development Agency


Business As Usual


Built Environment Analysis Model


Cooling Degree Days


Carbon dioxide


District Heating


Domestic Hot Water


Energy Efficiency Ratio


Environment and Climate Regional Accession Network


Electronic Supplementary Material


European Union


Energy Performance of Buildings Directive


Greenhouse Gas Emissions


Heating Degree Days


Long range Energy Alternatives Planning System


Liquid Petroleum Gas


Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio


Support for Low-Emission Development in South Eastern Europe


Regional Environmental Centre of Central and Eastern Europe


Value Added Tax



We are thankful to our other project experts, namely Bálint Salamon of Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Gjergji Simaku of the Albanian Ministry of Energy and Industry, Teuta Thimjo and Thimjo Plaku of the Albanian National Agency of Natural Resources, Zoran Miljanic and Igor Vušanovic of the University of Montenegro, Biljana Gligoric of Expeditio, Milica Jovanović Popović, Bojana Stanković, Branislav Živković, Dušan Ignjatović, and Aleksandra Sretenović of the Belgrade University. We are also thankful to Jozsef Feiler, Agnes Kelemen, Vaiva Indilaite, and Srna Sudar of the Regional Environmental Center, who helped in this project. We are grateful to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences awarded Zsuzsa Szalay with the János Bólyai Research Scholarship, which supported her work.

We would like to express our gratitude to policy-makers and experts of Albania, Montenegro, and Serbia, who worked with us on the project or provided their comments and data. These are Artan Leskoviku of Albanian National Agency of Natural Resources, Aheron Hizmo of Open Regional Fund for South Easter-n Europe – Energy Efficiency in Albania, Mirela Kamberi of UNDP Climate Change Programme in Albania, Božidar Pavlović and Anton Ljucovic from the Montenegrin Ministry of Economy, Milena Spicanovic from the Montenegrin Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Neno Jablan of CGES AD, Milica Pavlovic, Natasa Djurovic, Zdravka Savic, Masan Raicevic, Suzana Gojcaj, and Boljana Racovic of the Montenegrin Statistical Office, Danijela Bozanic and her team the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, Ana Ranković of the See Change Net, and Aleksandar Macura of the RES Foundation.

Funding information

This work was supported by the Austrian Development Cooperation under the contract number 8306-00/2013.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12053_2017_9604_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (10.1 mb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 10365 kb)
12053_2017_9604_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (3.1 mb)
ESM 2 (XLSX 3214 kb)
12053_2017_9604_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (4.5 mb)
ESM 3 (XLSX 4562 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM)BerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of Building Services and Process EngineeringBudapest University of Technology and EconomicsBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Department of Construction Materials and TechnologiesBudapest University of Technology and EconomicsBudapestHungary

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