Valga town as the administrative centre of Valga County is situated in the southern part of Estonia by the Latvian border. Valga and Valka town in the North Latvia are twin towns since 1920. The area of Valga town is 16,5 km² and that of Valka town is 14,2 km². The numbers of inhabitants are accordingly 14700 and 7100.
Valga is situated in the junction of roads and railways. Tallinn-Tartu-Riga railway is connected via Tapa with Tallinn-Narva-St.Petersburg magistral. Valga is an international junction of railway traffic. The distance from Valga to Tartu is 89 km, to Pärnu 144 km, to Tallinn 245 km, to Riga 175 km and to Pskov 170 km.
Valga is developing quickly. Since the year 1996 there have been renovated several buildings, which have improved the quality of citizens' life: Central Library, Valga Stadium, Museum, Valga Hospital and Culture and Hobby Centre. In 2003, there has been put into operation a new water treatment plant, which has remarkably improved the quality of water in the town. In the private sector there have been made large investments into trade, light industry and forestry.
Valga has concluded several cooperation agreements. The nearest is an agreement (from the year 1995) with the neighbour town Valka. There are also cooperation agreements with Oakland town (USA) and Osthammar commune (Sweden). There are long-term friendly relations with Hallsberg commune in Sweden, Lübz town in Germany and Tornio town in Finland.
The main supplier of heat energy for the dwellings, public buildings, offices, social security institutions and other buildings in Valga town is Eraküte Ltd Valga department. The controlling shareholder of Eraküte Ltd belongs to Dalkia Ltd, subsidiary to the French Consolidated Vivendi Company.
Ltd Eraküte Valga department is the owner of two boiler-houses that are connected to a unified network of local pipelines. The annual heat production is approximately 60000 MWh, including 54 – 56% of heat production on bio fuel. Approximately 69 % of Valga town district heating consumers are dwelling houses, 31 per cent are other consumers. The total volume of the heated buildings is 1152 thousand cubic meters, including 765 thousand cubic metres in dwelling houses and 387 thousand cubic metres of other consumers. The share of heat consumption in municipal buildings is 11-13% from total heat consumption.
Actions implemented in the field of building performance:
Valga town is owner 24 buildings, including 5 school buildings, 5 kindergartens, Culture and Hobby Centre, Sport Hall (2005), Central Library, Social Care Centre, administrative and other buildings.
Since 1995 there has been started renovation on heat substations in the dwelling houses and municipal buildings. Nowadays the heat consumption in the buildings is measured by heat meters and the most of heat consumers have heat substations with good possibilities of regulation of heat demand and they have no problems with rooms overheating.
The renovation of the municipal buildings has been started step by step. Several municipal buildings are renovated (building envelope, heating system), eg. Culture and Hobby Centre, Valga Basic School. Beside renovation of the heat substations the following repairing and energy saving measures are partly implemented in the municipal buildings:
· Balancing of heating systems,
· Installation of thermostatic valves,
· Reconstruction ob the one-pipe heating systems into two-pipe systems,
· Replacement of windows,
· Insulation of external walls,
· Reconstruction of roofs and insulation of attic floors,
· Reconstruction of indoor lighting mostly in the school buildings.
After renovation of the municipal buildings and implementation energy saving measures the heat consumption in these buildings has been decreased up to 20%. Still the municipal buildings are in need of renovation to decrease energy and water consumption and energy and water costs in the near future. The share of energy and water costs in town budget is approximately 10%, including electricity costs for street lighting. Decreasing e.g. heat consumption in the municipal buildings 10% it will be possible to decrease heating costs 24,000 EUR.