Estonia

estonia

Estonian eco-innovation performance has increased steadily throughout 2013-2015. The highest development can be seen in the Eco-Innovation Scoreboard indexes for socio-economic outcomes and eco-innovation activities, which continuously perform above the EU average. Despite these positive trends, Estonia still scores below EU average overall, mostly due to resource-intensive industrial structure, lack of seed funding opportunities for early-stage start-ups and low level of media coverage on eco-innovation subjects.

While in general Estonia does not target eco-innovation in policy documents specifically, the smart specialisation strategy, together with the Estonian research, development and innovation (RD&I) Strategy 2014-2020 and Entrepreneurship Growth Strategy 2014-2020, aim to tackle the major barriers of the Estonian innovation system, which also hold back eco-innovation. The biggest potential for eco-innovation initiatives within the smart specialisation framework arises in the areas of ICT, as an enabler of eco-innovative ICT solutions, and the use of smart technologies for more efficient resource management in the building and energy sectors. The field has seen numerous eco-innovation solutions in the past few years, largely due to initiatives that have raised awareness and the financial support available for companies.

Despite the newness of the term circular economy, the most recent policy initiatives in the field, notably the Estonian National Waste Management Plan 2014-2020, have already adopted the underlying principles of circular economy – for example, aiming to reduce the amount of waste produced and recycling it to the maximum level.

2015 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for Estonia

Estonia

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Zero-energy house (Elumaja)

Estonia_GPE_ZeroEnergyHouseThe concept of zero-energy house is based on the passive house standard and its objective is to create a house that is energy efficient, comfortable, healthy and has a small ecological footprint. This is a building of a new era that breaks down the current concepts in construction and in the way we manage our everyday life. In construction environmentally friendly materials are used. In zero-energy buildings there are no materials that are based on oil products or whose production process is energy-intensive and the materials can be re-cycled or safely disposed.

Elumaja is the first innovative integrated solution on the Estonian construction market for manufacturing a highly efficient module house. The concept of the module house enables to use autonomous renewable energy solutions and, if necessary, live independently from central infrastructure, i.e. without any CO2 emissions.  Zero energy house means that its use does not require more energy than the building itself can generate. Elumaja can be used both as a home or an office, or even a home office. The process starts by identifying the customer’s needs and is tailor-made. Module house is manufactured in the course of a standard construction process that ensures high quality, short delivery times and fixed price. Elumaja is made up of a 45 m²base module that ensures energy efficiency and healthy interior climate and add-on modules that allow to extend the housing space flexibly to 90 or 135 m², as necessary. Also bigger houses can be ordered with the same three characteristics: mobility, flexibility and independence. The zero-energy house is equiped with zero-energy solutions includes solar heating system, energy producing solar panels, a wind mill and batteries.
The most important element in choosing materials for the zero-energy house is the amount of primary energy, i.e. the amount of energy and emissions used for producing and transport of the materials, the given amount of greenhouse gases and the resource cost during the whole use of the building. The company prefers to use little-processed local materials with verified composition and that do not contain components that may be hazardous. Materials of non-local origin (such as air traps and steam traps) are certified by competent European Union bodies to ensure protection of human health and the environment. All materials used in  zero-energy house are renewable or can be disposed safely. The use of such environmental friendly materials in construction of the whole building is new in Estonia.

Barriers and Drivers
The price of the zero-energy house is twice more expensive than 'normal' house, which is not available for all customers even if they very much care about environment, CO2 reduction or energy efficiency. Even the new environmentally friendly materials do not make the zero-house a market leader. In spite the maintainance costs of the building are €0 in terms of energy use for heating, the initial investment makes the building environmentally friendly, but the sales volumes remain modest. The wide use of such buildings need the shift in people's heads towards more green way of thinking or significnt reduce in initial investment.

Economic Performance
The main economic impact is saving on heating costs.

Environmental Impact
The ecological footprint of zero-energy hoise is the smallest possible, without compromising anything on convenience or durability. In zero-energy buildings there are no materials that are based on oil products or whose production process is energy-intensive. The materials used in construction of zero-energy house can be re-cycled or safely disposed.

Further Information

http://www.elumaja.ee/en

Picture source: www.elumaja.ee

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