Energy efficiency

Until now, the state has mostly focused on improving the energy performance of buildings for the purposes of energy saving.

The high energy intensity of Estonia or the proportion of primary energy in the GDP is mostly related to the production of oil shale energy. A certain role is also played by the inefficient consumption of energy, one of the reasons for that being a depreciated infrastructure that dates back to the Soviet period, such as in apartment houses and district heating networks. 

According to the statistical information available for 2011, the proportions of energy consumption by different economic sectors of Estonia were the following: housing 32.8%, transport 26.3%, manufacturing 22.8% and trade and service sector – 18.1%.

The current national energy efficiency measures have mostly focused on improving the energy performance of housing, as this is the sector responsible for the highest energy consumption rates. At the same time, attention should be given in the near future to all the other sectors as well.

Energy efficiency


Energy efficiency directive

Estonia is mostly planning its activities in the area of development of energy efficiency with the European Union energy efficiency directive adopted in 2012. 

To ensure the implementation of the large number of measures specified in the directive to all the economic sectors, a new, horizontal energy management regulation act will be developed in Estonia. The first stage of the act (to be finished by summer 2014) involves the regulations applicable to the area of energy efficiency in general.

The energy efficiency directive lays down the following main goals:

  • General framework will be established for the member states for the promotion of energy performance, aimed at achieving one of the main goals – reducing the consumption of primary energy in the European Union to a level lower by the estimated volume – 1,842 Mtoe – by 20 per cent by 2020 (1474 M,toe).

  • More efficient use must be made of energy at all levels of the energy chain, starting from the production and distribution of energy down to consumer level.

  • Estonia is recommended to maintain the final consumption of power at the level achieved in 2010 (2,818 ktoe or 119 PJ) in the year 2020. This goal is also laid down in the “Estonia 2020” competitiveness plan.

What is toe?
Tons of oil equivalent or energy that is equivalent to energy obtained by burning one ton of oil, 1 toe = 41,868 GJ, 1 TWh electricity energy = 0,086 Mtoes 
(Mtoe – mega toe or million toes, ktoe – kilo toe or thousand toes).



Energy efficiency measures

Apart from the energy efficiency goals laid down at the European Union level and the recommended targets established for the countries, the directive sets out the following measures:

  • The obligation to save, per year, 1.5% of the energy sold to final customers over the period from 1 January 2014 until 31 December 2020. To meet that goal, energy efficiency must become a mandatory requirement for distribution network undertakings and/or energy retailers. As an alternative, each country has the right to choose other state-level energy efficiency measures to meet this obligation; in Estonia, this would mean continued implementation of the activities carried out by KredEx, EIC and Riigi Kinnisvara AS.
  • Ensuring final customers with easy access to their consumption data in real time and in retrospective, free of charge, by introducing individual measuring instruments with improved accuracy.
  • Large enterprises will be required to conduct an energy audit every four years to explain the options available for energy efficiency and to inspire small and medium sized enterprises to follow their example.
  • The following requirements will be mandatory for approximately fifty governmental authorities (ministries and state agencies) of Estonia while being recommended for public sector in general:
    • Renovation of three per cent of buildings that are owned and used by governmental authorities as of 1 January 2014, in order to meet the minimum energy performance requirements.
    • Implementation of energy performance requirements as a component of public procurement when purchasing buildings, equipment or services. Attention must be given to compliance with cost efficiency requirements, technical and economic feasibility.
  • Surveillance must be conducted over the efficiency of generated energy production capacities, assessing energy cogeneration and district heating potentials, and drafting measured for their implementation by 31 December 2015, at the latest. Residual heat should be utilised better; conservative consumption should be promoted.

Institutions developing energy efficiency


The Energy Department and Construction and Housing Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications are most closely involved with the energy performance issues of buildings. 

The Ministry will mainly work with two institutions for the application and implementation of energy performance measures:

  • KredEx
    KredEx is mostly involved in improving the energy performance of apartment houses, but also individual houses to a certain extent. KredEx is also responsible for the development of accumulator vehicle programme, ELMO. 
    KredEx »   ELMO »
  • Environmental Investment Centre (KIK)
    The functions of the Centre include the improvement of the energy performance of public sector infrastructure, renovation of district heating distribution networks and reconditioning street lights.
    KIK »

Additionally, the following institutions are involved with energy performance issues:

  • Riigi Kinnisvara AS used the so-called CO2 investments to improve the energy performance of 540 public buildings in 2010–2013. The functions of the public limited company also include the renovation of buildings of governmental authorities.
    Riigi Kinnisvara »
  • The Estonian Competition Authority promotes energy performance through the harmonisation of energy rates and tariffs.
    Estonian Competition Authority »

Greening and energy monitoring and growth programme, launched at the Estonian Development Fund, also contributes to the conduct of energy efficiency studies and the implementation of development programmes.


Funding the energy performance objectives

In 2014-2020, approximately 232 million euros of the funds of the European Union Structural Funds will be invested in the administrative area of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

  • Slightly less than a half of the budget, 102 million euros, will be spent on achieving the desired energy performance outcomes in apartment houses.

  • 78 million euros will be spent to help renovate inefficient heat distribution networks or transfer unpromising district heating systems to local heating.

  •  It is planned to spend 43 million euros for improving the energy efficiency and modernisation of the street illumination systems of local governments. Therefore, the implementation of many KredEx and EIC measures will be continued.


Energy performance and certificates of equipment

Energy performance and energy performance certificate requirements have been established for some home appliances, heating and other equipment for the more efficient use of energy and other references.

In this area, Estonia fully complies with the requirements laid down by the appropriate European Union directives.

Additional domestic requirements have not been established solely because the quality achieved at the level of the European Commission and by involving producers and their representatives organisations all over the EU is higher than ever developed by one or another member state alone.

Energy performance requirements

Energy performance requirements for equipment are mostly set out in the implementation measures laid down in accordance with the Eco Design Directive 2009/125/EC, which regulate the sales of 20 different product categories. Equipment that does not meet the energy performance requirements laid down by the Eco Design Directive must not be imported or marketed to and in Europe, including Estonia (with the exception of equipment produced before the requirements entered into force). The marketing of electric filament lamps as the most inefficient lighting installations (with the exception of electric filament lamps for specific purpose) is forbidden as of 1 September 2012.

Requirements to energy performance certificate

Apart from the compliance with energy performance requirements, the presence of an energy performance certificate, as specified in directive 2010/30/EU, is mandatory for ten product categories. There is a general principle that equipment of higher energy performance class is the most economic for the consumer, considering all the expenses incurring during their life span, and is environmentally sound, despite the fact that their acquisition costs may be higher than for equipment with a lower energy performance.


Last updated: 13 March 2015