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Energy Conservation


Clean Energy Brigades in the Czech Republic

The Clean Energy Brigade, led by the local NGO Hnuti DUHA Rainbow Movement, is a project to promote energy-saving and conservation by directly installing energy-efficient technologies in homes and public buildings. The activities are based on co-operation with municipalities and local people.

Trained volunteers provide the following services to participating building owners:

  • Installing window and door insulation
  • Placing insulating and reflecting pads behind radiators
  • Inserting insulating tubes for heating systems
  • Installing compact fluorescent light bulbs

According to research accumulated after the winter of 1994-95 in the areas served by the Clean Energy Brigades, the average energy saving is 20% of the former consumption. This improvement saves the country the expense of and emissions from 1,350 tons of coal every year.

The cost of the insulation materials is covered either by the building owners or by funds provided by following organisations: The Environmental Partnership, The Slunicko Foundation, PHARE, The Regional Environmental Centre, Stichting Doen, The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The US Peace Corps.

The return on investment for customers has been calculated at less than two years. But, as the project is partially financed by customers' contributions, the major difficulty currently faced is lack of money in the municipal sphere. This holds back activities in public buildings: school, kindergardens, city halls, and flats owned by municipalities.

Recently, though, the municipalities are beginning to show greater initiative. With increasing frequency, they are asking for technical and educational support rather than for direct technical help. In particular, they are requesting training seminars for unemployed residents of the area on installing energy-efficient technologies.

Average costs for insulating a typical flat and house
   House  Flat
 Annual heating  18,000 kWh  14,000 kWh
 Energy savings  3,000 kWh  3,000 kWh
 Cost of material  50 USD  80 USD
 Pay-back time of material costs  1 year  1.5 year

Name and type of project 
Clean Energy Brigades, Improving Heating Insulation in Homes and Public Buildings 
Starting year 
Overall cost of the project 
15,000 USD (during 4 years of the project, excluding materials purchased by building owners)
Energy amount saved 
3,300 MWh/year
Cost of energy replaced 
0.02 USD/kWh
Contact person 
Karel Polanecky
Hnuti DUHA - Friends of the Earth,
Lublanska 18, 120 00 Praha 2, the Czech Republic
Ph: +420 2 29 09 09 Fax: +420 2 29 60 48