There are two fairytale characters that describe best winter and summer in the majority of the Albanian houses.

Winter: The Little match girl. Most of the houses in Albania do not have central heating and the hefty electricity bill it literally breaks the wallet and the heart. Snuggling into a wool blanket is the only way to survive the winter cold days, reminding us that the Little match girl of Andersen is not that outdated.

Summer: Cinderella. It’s not that Albanians are waiting for Prince Charming to save them from the summer heat, but the shoe factor plays a crucial role in keeping the houses fresh. Stuck at the front door, the shoe allows the door to open a crack and let air come into the small apartments. The Cinderella shoe does not provide a life in a castle, but a breath of fresh air instead.

For some this might seem fictional, but it is the reality that faces the majority of Albanians. The lack of energy efficiency makes the buildings cold in winter and sizzling hot during summer.
Buildings are responsible for at least 40% of energy use in most countries. The absolute figure is rising fast, as construction booms. Demand for energy is expected to increase by as much as 70% in the Western Balkans over the next two decades and Albania as well.

Improved energy efficiency measures in public buildings around the region represent savings of up to 40% of total energy consumption, which can help ensure more secure and reliable energy supply to fuel economic growth.

Progress can begin immediately because knowledge and technology exist today to slash the energy buildings use. The use of solar energy in the buildings, or thermo isolation could make them more energy friendly and boost the overall economy.

Energy efficiency does not mean sacrificing quality of life, instead it means obtaining the same energy goods and services using fewer resources to do so. The reality is that the benefits of energy efficiency result in a greater well-being for citizens, increased security, and a benefit to the environment with significant savings in CO2 emissions. Energy efficiency is one of the policies that put the brake on climate change and promote the development of sustainable societies. All this is made possible through the use of renewable energy.

By 2020, approximately 38% of the energy, Albanian consumers will have to provide it from renewable energy. This is a condition set by the EU, which will provide citizens with lower energy costs, clean and pollution-free environment. Renewable energy provided by wind, solar or other alternative way. Changes to the law on "renewable energy", which was adopted by the Commission of Production Activities, aim as well to attract more investors in this field. Albania is the second country in Europe after Norway that has 100% or near 100% renewable electricity thanks to hydro-power generation and who is blessed on having lots of sun all year around.

Currently in Albania zero kWh of energy is produced out of wind, because of the lack of assessment of wind energy potentials. Up to date, over 15 licenses have been awarded for the construction of Wind Parks in Albania. None have been constructed yet. The main problem faced by investors in this area is the lack of long-term measurements of wind speed in different areas in Albania and a legal framework.

The suspension of the implementation of the law on renewable energies is an additional bureaucratic obstacle to the spread of these technologies and a queue of investors are waiting for the government to change the law to clarify the legal situation in which to perform their investments.

Albania falls way behind, on the use of renewable energy non-hydro, compared with other regional countries. Even though Albania has the potential to increase the 2000 MW wind plants according to the National Environmental Agency.

The position of Albania, which has a Mediterranean climate, generates favorable conditions for a sustainable development of the solar energy. The high intensity of solar radiation, its relatively long duration, the temperature and the air moisture are exactly the elements that contribute to this effect. The Mediterranean climate with a soft and wet winter and a hot and dry summer enables Albania to have higher potentials in solar energy use than the average of the European countries.

Solar panels have very low maintenance and being considered by the experts as one of the most durable products, enables the return of the investment. Which means your wallet will be fuller by months end as the sun is for free and the value of your house if you have a solar panel will increase in value, as new buyers will be able to save energy. Energy efficiency is not only a political thing. It concerns everyone.. Saving energy today is making sure the economy goes forward and that the country has less Cinderella’s in the heat of the summer and Little match girls frizzing in the cold./AgroWeb.org/