Poland’s government is expanding its programme to improve energy efficiency in homes as part of efforts to reduce air pollution and lower household bills. The scheme has seen its budget increased by 25% and expanded to cover a wide range of residences.
The climate ministry aims for the programme to replace half of the one million old polluting coal-fired boilers still in use in buildings containing multiple dwellings by 2030. Poland has some of Europe’s worst air pollution, with the burning of coal for home heating the primary cause.
Kraków topped a global air pollution ranking today, with Warsaw and Wrocław also in the top ten, after temperatures dropped below zero.
Poland – where coal generates 70% of electricity and heats a third of homes – has some of Europe’s worst air pollution https://t.co/Q7AWBuUL0s
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) November 21, 2022
The Warm Housing (Ciepłe Mieszkanie) scheme was launched last year as a supplement to the popular Clean Air (Czyste Powetrze) programme, which since its introduction five years ago has provided funds for homeowners to upgrade heating systems and improve insulation.
The original budget of the Warm Housing programme was 1.4 billion zloty (€304 million). So far, 374 contracts have been signed with municipalities for funding amounting to over 746 million zloty, allowing for renovations in more than 33,500 housing units, says the climate ministry.
The newly announced iteration of the scheme will open on 29 September and run to the end of this year. Its budget has now been increased to to 1.75 billion zloty.
Dowiedz się więcej ➡ https://t.co/qt77Pz2IJ8 pic.twitter.com/CG9QiuNUSt
— Ministerstwo Klimatu i Środowiska (@MKiS_GOV_PL) September 21, 2023
While the Clean Air programme is aimed at single-family houses, the Warm Housing scheme is for buildings that contain multiple dwellings. The latest edition has been expanded to include tenants of communal housing (for example, social housing) and small housing communities comprised of thre to seven dwellings.
The funds under the programme can be used to replace old coal-fired boilers with cleaner energy sources – such as heat pumps, condensing gas furnaces or pellet heaters – to connect housing units to a common efficient heat source, and to replace windows and doors with better-insulated replacements.
Housing communities will also be able to receive funding for the purchase and installation of solar panels.
Poland has been Europe’s fastest-growing market for heat pumps for the last three years, a process further accelerated by the energy crisis resulting from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The country is also now becoming a major manufacturing hub for the devices https://t.co/CHKREZtLfl
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) April 28, 2023
Under the new edition of the programme, individuals can receive up to 43,900 zloty in funding, while housing associations can apply for as much as 375,000 zloty. However, in order for residents to benefit from the funding, local municipalities must first apply to the programme.
The level of financing available to individuals will be based on their income but also where they live, with residents of more polluted areas able to apply for more. The ministry has published a list of 163 such municipalities, which are mainly in the Silesia and Małopolska provinces in southern Poland.
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Main image credit: Radek Kołakowski/Flickr (under CC BY 2.0)
Alicja Ptak is senior editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.