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Lessons learnt

The lessons learnt from a project as CITyFiED are an important instrument that can be used for future energy efficient interventions. In the case of Soma demonstration site legal and administrative barriers have been a prohibitive obstacle to overcome


The utilization of waste heat from the thermal plant and the implementation of RTP pipelines in this Project would have enabled the testing of an innovative technology for future projects. Furthermore, working in a collaborative project together with different potential research companies enables to share the know-hows and develop new ideas for future projects. This has also been an important lesson learnt.

On the contrary, for the Turkish demo, the administrative processes seem to have been the most important barriers while developing the Project. The procedures are considerably slow and they need to be interrupted several times, what delayed the Project’s works. Due to this fact, the public investment was stopped and the consortium had to deal with this economic issue.


Financial & Economic

After the start of the CITyFiED project, the thermal power plant was privatized leaving demo site to the public institution Electricity Generation A.Ş. (EÜAŞ) and the authorization of the district heating system transferred from District Municipality to Metropolitan Municipality. Although the Municipality continued with the investments, the new owners’ final decision is to stop further investments.

This change in the legal framework drastically affected the financial mechanisms and moreover the business model of the Soma demonstration site, which made it not possible to finally accomplish the initial plan and ambitious targets. 

Fortunately, projects aiming at increasing the energy efficiency and achieving environmental benefits are becoming quite a trend in Turkey. The government, through the Ministry of Energy, supports them by tax incentives, fee reductions and even being directly involved in many of these projects.


Regulatory & Administrative

The tender process for publicly owned buildings is proved to be time-consuming and intricate. The local teams were on a tight schedule to complete the renovations on all the intended dwellings within the project’s duration.

A number of political and financial changes and events in Soma delayed the start of the works. One of the major risks for the project were not technical but administrative decision, as the government’s decision to privatise SOMA Electricity Generation & Trading Joint Stock Company (SEAŞ). This has influenced decision-making, prioritisation, budgeting and resource allocation for the company, which is at the centre of the interventions at the demo site and the related investments. In addition, these changes have led to new requirements for the buildings in the Soma demonstration site in terms of seismic testing. 

The management of SEAŞ, who were involved in the proposal stage of the project, were very eager to accomplish the investments; however, there were a number of set-backs. Within the first year, some of the interventions on the buildings have been realised. After the privatisation, it took some time for the new management to take over the project. After the political events of 2016 in the country, the investments were on hold for a while. Unfortunately, the final decision of SEAŞ (EÜAŞ the new owner of the demo site) was not to do any investment without the seismic tests. The analysis (energy performance, LCC, LCA, etc.) done within the scope of CITyFiED have shown that the environmental and economic returns of the project would have been very positive if all planned intervention would have been realised. At least these studies have shown the potential of such interventions in the city as well as in the country. 

Last but not least, the difficulty of behavioural change towards low energy use is a relevant barrier. Since the demo site is owned by public and the tenants would not have to pay for the interventions they were very much in favour of the interventions. They were aware their comfort level would increase with insulation and using cleaner source of energy instead of coal would have a positive impact on their health. It is a bit of a disappointment for some of the tenants that the interventions could not be done in all buildings, especially the district heating. Still they are curious about how they can monitor their consumptions and very interested in the smart phone application of the ICT partner, Reengen, in which they can check their consumptions as well as getting alerts for over consumption. At least some of the tenants seem to have increased their awareness since the start of the project.



The most important achievement in this regard, was to assess high potential benefits of using the waste heat of industries such as the thermal plant of Soma, which help to decrease big amounts of CO2emissions of the city balance. In the same way that in the other two demonstration sites, the energy efficiency measures were evaluated from a life cycle analysis perspective. Since the initial plan was to substitute the coal by waste heat, the environmental cost reduction estimated was even much higher than in the other demonstration sites that use other different renewable energy sources.



Although the demo site is owned by public and the tenants would not have to pay for the interventions, social engagement activities based on communications and information were key to success in order to increase 

Thanks to this, tenants of the retrofitted buildings are very happy with the results and express their intention to see all the previously planned retrofitting to be finished.

Visualization tools are a very usefull tools to increase the awareness of the tenants that would eventually lead to behaviour change.

These are some of the lessons learnt during the project related to Soma demonstration site. More information about lessons learnt can be found in the CITyFiED Best Practice Book.