The article has been regularly updated since the establishment of the Coalition in July 2020.
The video has embedded English subtitles.
The first energy-poor apartment in the world available for rent, the Bulgarian online apartment ColdB&B, has opened its doors. This latest initiative by MOVE.BG invites everyone - from politicians and institutional representatives to citizens - to visit the apartment and engage in its special cause - eliminating energy poverty. Energy poverty affects nearly 28% of Bulgarian households and has become Bulgaria's "Invisible Problem" because it has been excluded from mainstream state policies for years. The ColdB&B campaign begins after the end of the winter period as in the early spring the problem becomes even more invisible. The following weeks are the time for Bulgaria to take appropriate measures for the new heating season, including in view of the formation of the new parliament after the fifth snap elections in two years. MOVE.BG plans to hand over the symbolic key from ColdB&B to the new Minister of Energy.
ColdB&B, where the renowned Bulgarian actor Alek Aleksiev awaits you, is a tool through which MOVE.BG sheds light on Bulgaria's "Invisible Problem" by addressing its dimensions and offering possible solutions to overcome it. These proposals for reforms were formulated by 50 leading experts during a special forum. Everyone can support the solutions by sharing and disseminating them or by implementing them if they are a representative of the legislative, executive, or local authorities.
Among the recommendations for reforms are:
- Establishing a dedicated body within the government to coordinate the fight against energy poverty.
- Supporting households for producing solar energy themselves and granting them the right to sell excess energy individually or through energy cooperatives.
- Creating a "one-stop shop" for energy transition, where people can access information and advice on how to apply for various measures.
"While energy poverty is becoming a problem of the past in Europe, in Bulgaria, it remains a present challenge. If we do not take decisive steps today, it will deepen in the future. We at MOVE.BG do not want this future for Bulgaria. That is why we created the ColdB&B project. With it, we aim to shed light on the Invisible Problem of Bulgaria - Energy Poverty, which affects one-fourth of our fellow citizens. It is a problem that seems familiar, yet remains unseen, and the necessary actions are not being taken by our state to address it. With ColdB&B, we pose the rhetorical question: Would you rent a cold apartment in winter?
But at the same time, through our project, we highlight possible solutions. I believe that with coordinated efforts between lawmakers, the state, and citizens, we can solve Bulgaria's Invisible Problem. That is the goal of our initiative," said Sasha Bezuhanova, founder of MOVE.BG and the initiator of the NGO union Green Restart Coalition.
ColdB&B: Where is the apartment located?
ColdB&B is symbolically located in the online space, as it does not offer a physical apartment for rent but rather invites participation in the cause of addressing and solving Bulgaria's Invisible Problem. The organizers have chosen a virtual home for their initiative because, in reality, ColdB&B is present in various locations throughout Bulgaria.
MOVE.BG aims for the resolution of energy poverty to become a national cause.
For years, numerous households in our country have been unable to afford sufficient heating during winter or cooling during hot summer days. Bulgaria has the highest number of energy-poor households in Europe, with almost 28% or 3.5 times the European average of 8%. Additionally, 38% of households in Bulgaria do not heat and inhabit at least one cold room during the winter period.
The consequences of energy poverty are serious. Living in temperature conditions unsuitable for human health is extremely dangerous, with children and individuals with chronic illnesses being the most vulnerable. Energy poverty can also lead to depression, difficulties in concentration at work or school, stigmatization, and social exclusion. Energy poverty also has significant adverse effects on productivity in the economy, while placing an additional burden on the healthcare system and social funds.
ColdB&B: Solutions Exist
Through ColdB&B, MOVE.BG insists on taking immediate measures to address energy poverty and offers possible solutions. These proposals for reforms are part of the special report "Mission Energy Transition'' which contains over 150 recommendations for a successful energy transformation of Bulgaria. The solutions are based on proposals given by 50 leading Bulgarian experts who were gathered by the Green Restart Coalition in a special for the generation of ideas.
See all recommendations in the English version of the "Mission Energy Transition" report here.
The ColdB&B initiative is carried out in partnership with & play studio and with the support of actor Alex Alexiev.
*Translation from the Bulgarian language: Ekatherina Dimitrova