Many Estonians live in energy inefficient, poorly constructed Soviet era apartment buildings. As a consequence, the average annual heating energy used in the buildings is higher than in other industrial nations with a similar climate. With rising energy costs, household energy consumption is no small matter in a nation where heating is required for a major part of the year. However, there is reluctance to invest in the energy efficiency of older inefficient buildings, and practical information regarding both the risks and benefits is sorely needed to convince owners to take measures.
Tartu City Government decided to address the issue by organizing a competition which searched for realizable and innovative energy efficient building solutions. The competition was targeted to both citizens and companies, but it proved out to be easier to attract companies to take part in it. The contest is nowadays organized annually and many practical energy efficient solutions have been brought into the limelight this way. However, cities contemplating on organizing similar events should remember that a clear promotional strategy is needed to attract participants and to get enough media attention.