REPLACE Highlight Bulgaria – From old coal boilers to efficient heating technologies: two practice examples of how the REPLACE your Heating System Calculator helps households in Bulgaria plan a new heating system

In the Rhodope region in Bulgaria, the REPLACE your Heating System Calculator provides valuable support to households to choose the best heating technology for their home. Together with the following two households, REPLACE project partner BSERC has found out about technologies that fit to the buildings, about operating costs, pay back times and savings in money and CO2.

The 55 m2 house in Bratsigovo before the heating replacement

The first household for which a planning guidance has been developed, is situated in Bratsigovo. It is a small house (55 m2), currently using 8 m3 firewood and 0.5 m3 coal for heating via individual stoves. The calculator showed that the best option is to switch to a firewood boiler with an internal heating system. The new solution would require an investment of about € 2,500, but due to its high efficiency, the operating costs would be reduced by 41% and the payback would be 10 years. The lower firewood consumption would also result in easier service and lower carbon emissions. The latter would translate into additional financial savings, once households are included in EU emission trading system ETS 2.

The second household is a larger house (168 m²), also located in Bratsigovo. It is heated by an old boiler burning firewood and coal, with a total energy content equivalent to 9.85 m3 firewood. For this house, the most promising solution according to the REPLACE calculator is to switch to a new and more efficient firewood boiler, resulting in €270 annual operation cost savings and payback period of less than 10 years. Additional benefits are the lower service and storage requirements and 80% CO2 emission reduction. Another solution is to switch to an air-to-water heat pump. However, despite the €263 (37%) annual operation cost savings, the heat pump would not pay back within its technical life, due to high investment cost (€11,300). Anyway, this solution is worth considering, due to other benefits – automation, no fuel transport and storage requirements, and CO2 emission reduction.

The 168 m2 house in Bratsigovo before the heating replacement