Refurbishment of public buildings and modernization of public lighting

User generated Initiative

Location: Zagreb, Croatia

Population: 1,113,111 [metropolitan area]

Climate: Oceanic

Duration: 2013-2017

Sector: Cross-cutting

Funding sources: Public-private

City networks: C40, ICLEI, Eurocities and Metropolis, the Association Energy-Cites, Covenant of Mayors

Savings: Annual energy savings of 33.526 MWH and CO2 emissions reduced by 8,390 t.

Solutions: Energy refurbishment of public buildings and LED retrofit of public lighting.

Multible Benefits: Increased awareness and creation of jobs, while the energy costs reduced.

The project Zagreb Energy Efficient City (ZagEE) lead to the realization of energy savings by implementing economically sound and energy efficient technologies and measures to public lighting and buildings (90% of the buildings were classified below F energy class). The project was developed under the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) programme.

Objective – To reduce total energy consumption of the city administration through increasing energy efficiency and using renewable energy sources on objects owned by the City of Zagreb.

Solutions – The ZagEE project carried out energy refurbishment of 87 public buildings (gross surface: 226.654 m2) and modernization of 3000 outdated street lighting poles with LED luminaries with time based lighting control system. The project included the creation of registers and databases about public buildings as well as the production of the City of Zagreb Lighting Masterplan. Moreover, the City organized capacity-building events for city office employees and building managers, focusing on technical, financial, managerial aspects of energy efficiency.

Funding – A total budget of EUR 29,379,114 (USD 36,075,789*). The project was financed by the City’s own budget (30% of the project budget), bank loans (35% of the project budget) and EU funds (35% of the project budget) [source].

Innovation – ZagEE is a largest retrofit project in Croatia implemented in recent years, with energy saving targets of 49-72% as result of the project. The targets reflect the large share of energy consumption by the building sector, which uses approximately 58% total consumption of the City. In fact, it has been estimated that the greatest potential for saving energy in Zagreb lies in the building sector [source].

Success factors – ZagEE included the conduction of a market research for cost planning and technical specifications for the targeted buildings and public lighting. Developing specific feasibility studies prior the implementation of ZagEE, allowed for a targeted design of the project, which eventually facilitated its success [source]. Moreover, the commitment to the energy obligations of the Covenant of Mayors and to Sustainable Energy Action Plan of the City of Zagreb created a favourable framework to proceed and realise ZagEE.

Significant outcomes:

  • Energy consumption reduced by 33,526 MWh annually (49% in buildings and 72% in public lighting), as result of the project.
  • CO2 emissions reduced by 8,390 t annually, as result of the project.
  • Reduced bills for public buildings and lighting.
  • Facilitated maintenance of public buildings.
  • Raised awareness among citizens [source].
  • New jobs created.

​Synergies with local policies::

  • Sustainable Energy Action Plan identifies and provides guidelines for the implementation of energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and environmentally friendly fuels projects at the city level, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 20% by 2020.

Political alignment:

  • National Energy Strategy 2009-2020 has three objectives: 1) to increase security of energy supply, 2) to develop competitive energy system and 3) to ensure sustainable energy sector development. It sets targets of 20% GHG emission reduction by 2020 (1990 baseline) and to increase share of renewable energy by 20% in annual gross energy consumption of the country by 2020.
  • Environment Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund (EPEEF) provides financial support to prepare, develop and implement various programmes and projects in several fields, including energy efficiency. It aligns with the European Union (EU) energy policy, aiming at reducing total consumption of energy by 20% by 2020 relative to the base projections.
  • Energy Act 2012 regulates measures to ensure secure and reliable energy supply, efficient power generation and use, stipulating the design of energy policy and energy strategy.


  • The project has demonstrated that energy-efficient public buildings has the potential to be replicated elsewhere to achieve significant energy and financial savings, as well as economic development and commercial opportunities [source].

*Conversion rate used EUR 1 = USD 1.23