Estonia is helping Ukraine identify the most applicable solutions for energy-efficient renovation


Estonia is helping Ukraine identify the most applicable solutions for energy-efficient renovation of multi-apartment buildings to support reconstruction efforts after the end of the war and facilitate investment in sustainable housing.

Housing is one of the sectors most affected by the war in Ukraine, with over 50 billion dollars of damage recorded since the invasion by the Russian Federation. In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, some 3,367 apartment buildings and 1,823 single apartment buildings have been destroyed and damaged, according to the City Council. In the southern city of Mykolaiv, housing stock accounts for 77% of overall damage, according to a One Works assessment. The City Council of Zhytomyr, situated approximately 130 km west of Kyiv, reports over 300 residential buildings as damaged or destroyed.

In response, the Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing Associations has started a capacity-building and cooperation programme for the reconstruction of residential areas in Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and Zhytomyr. The project is supported by the Estonian Center for International Development Cooperation (ESTDEV) and will be implemented in cooperation with UNECE and Housing Ukraine.

In September 2023, a delegation of housing experts and city architects from Ukraine visited Estonia to learn from the Estonian experience with housing management, apartment associations, and sustainable renovation of multi-apartment housing stock. The Estonian example is used to identify the most applicable solutions for the energy-efficient reconstruction of multi-apartment buildings in Ukraine, in cities of Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and Zhytomyr.

The 5-day program of the visit provided opportunities for the delegation to meet and exchange information with:

  • The Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing Associations: Chairman Andres Jaadla; Board Member Urmas Mardi; and Head of International Relations and Projects Anu Sarnet, on the principles of management of apartment associations in Estonia, EKYL’s work for sustainable housing, cooperation with different stakeholders for empowering apartment associations for renovation, achieving energy efficiency in multi-apartment buildings, and the legal framework of the management of apartment buildings in Estonia.
  • The Ministry of Climate: Ivo Jaanisoo, the Vice-Chancellor of the Ministry of Climate; Veronika Valk-Siska, Head of Housing Policy; and Jüri Rass, Expert in Digital Construction, on national housing policy and planning for renovation of multi-apartment buildings and urban development in Estonia.
  • The Tallinn City Property Department: Hardi Alliksaar, Head of Department; Natalie Neill-Puskar, Deputy Head of Department; Jürgen Sarmet, Deputy Head of Department; Triin Taada, Head of Cooperative Housing Unit; and Priit Pärtelpoeg, Head of Housing Sector Subunit, on the planning and management of social housing in Tallinn and support measures from the municipality for apartment associations and renovation of multi-apartment buildings.
  • Tallinn University of Technology: professor Targo Kalamees, on the conditions of the housing stock in Estonia and the technical solutions for renovation of multi-apartment buildings with prefabricated panels by the example of the renovated dormitory building Akadeema 5a in Tallinn.
  • Rakvere City Government: Angeelika Pärna, the Chief Architect of the City of Rakvere; on housing, urban development, and energy-efficiency issues from the viewpoint of architect.
  • Estonian Academy of Arts: Sille Pihlak, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, on volumetric renovation and neighbourhood-based reconstruction on the example of the Mustamäe settlement, offering alternatives for parking, accessibility, energy efficiency and other public benefits to improve the quality of life and strengthen the community.

Practical site visits were held in Tallinn to buildings of apartment associations Sõpruse 246 and Vilde 70 in Mustamäe district, where large-scale renovation models are implemented with collective financing and renovation grants. In the city of Rakvere, the delegation visited the renovated Seminari street area as an example of district reconstruction in cooperation of apartment associations and the city; Rakvere Rohuaia kindergarten as an example of the reconstruction of the nursery building that resulted in energy class A; and the Vallimägi Open Air Centre as an example of a modern green urban environment.

On September 14th, a roundtable on Ukraine’s residential reconstruction was held by the Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing Associations in Tallinn, introducing the situation with housing and the condition of buildings in Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and Zhytomyr and involving speakers from ESTDEV, UNECE, and IWO.

As a result of the project, at least 2 examples of the renovation process of apartment buildings and the development of model for housing magament will be proposed in each project region. In this process, Estonian experience in the reconstruction of residential buildings and the model of Estonian apartment associations in organizing the cooperative management of apartment buildings will be used. Prepared pilot examples will allow Ukrainian municipalities to turn to funds for the necessary support to start reconstruction immediately after the end of the war. The direct beneficiaries of the project are the regions and residents of Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and Zhytomyr. The project partner is Housing Ukraine and the project cooperates with UNECE projects in the same regions.

Project Coordinator:
Anu Sarnet
Head of International Relations and Projects