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Efficient lighting in a sports hall of the Latvian Academy of Sport Education becomes a reality through third party financing


The Latvian Academy of Sports Education (LASE), established in 1921, is the only sports academy in Latvia. The Academy enrolls more than 1600 students in bachelor, master and PhD programmes. The premises of the Academy are located in Riga and consist of seven buildings within a common campus.

The lighting systems in the Academy’s buildings were old fashioned and therefore these buildings were included in the Efficient Lighting Initiative (ELI) Programme, implemented in Latvia between 2000 and 2003.

An energy audit in the LASE was carried out in October 2001 in order to evaluate the possibility of improving the lighting system in one of the sports halls on the campus. Prior to upgrading the lighting, the annual electricity consumption of the sports hall was 173,120 kWh/year, representing a cost of €8900 /year.
The total installed capacity of the lighting system was 42.5kW. The existing lighting system in the sports hall consisted of 33 1000W halogen bulbs and 6,750W high-pressure bulbs. The balcony of the sports hall was lit up by 10 separate luminaries, each with 500W incandescent bulbs.

Sports hall of the Latvian Academy of Sports Education

Building details

Type of building
Sports hall

Year built/ Floor area/ Operating hours
The sports hall is used 7 months a year, for 12-15 hours a day and a total of 4100 hours/year.



The aim of the project was to:

- Accelerate the penetration of energy efficient lighting technologies and to promote efficient lighting in public buildings, and in sports halls in particular
- Encourage the use of Energy Services Company (ESCo) financing principles for the implementation of energy efficiency projects in Latvia

Key points
The project began in October 2001 with an energy audit of the lighting system in the sports hall. The audit identified several problems, of which the main were:

- 8% of the luminaries were not working
- Lighting quality did not correspond to existing local and European quality standards
- The existing control system did not contribute to the efficient use of the lighting system
- There was no evacuation lighting
- The shock protection bars over the luminaries considerably reduced the quality of light
- Dust lodgement, due to bad maintenance of the luminaries, was reducing the quality of light
- Some of the bulbs had been replaced with the wrong model, causing the connecting wires to burn.

_ Based on the results of the energy audit, which showed the project feasibility and profitability, the administration of LASE decided to refurbish the lighting system and announced a call for tender addressed to Energy Services companies. The reasons for this decision were:

- To attract third party financing
- To include in the contract operation and maintenance of the system
- To guarantee energy savings as a result of the project.

_ Four companies participated in the tender, of which only one had a real idea of how to implement an ESCo project. The other three companies did not know how to estimate the potential savings from the project or how to effectively manage such a project. The agreement with the winner – Sinhro Ltd. – was signed in July 2003.

_ Lighting design and computer simulation were performed to calculate the right number and capacity of lights and to make sure that the new lights were positioned correctly. The old lights were replaced with new lights with a better optical efficiency, a much longer lifetime, vibration resistance and dust free features. They were also easier to service, which meant lower maintenance costs. The lighting system refurbishment included:

- Replacement of old light points with 66 250W new luminaries with a total capacity 16.5 kW
- Automatic lighting control system
- Electricity consumption control system with PC output that enables the technical department of LASE to analyse the results
- 8 motion sensors and 1 outdoor lighting sensor
- Emergency exit lighting
- Total replacement of the electrical wires to ensure the new lighting system functions properly now and in the future.

Reason for inclusion as Shining Example
The successful implementation of this project demonstrates the benefits of third party financing for energy efficiency projects. Although it was difficult to find an ESCo company to implement this relatively small project, it has become a convincing demonstration of an energy saving project that utilises modern technology and financial schemes.

Costs &


The project was fully financed through the ESCo. The total cost of the project was €28,500. The ESCo has taken a loan of €14,250 from the Latvian Unibanka commercial bank and the rest was funded from its own resources.

_ Other partners in the project were the energy engineering consulting company Ekodoma Ltd. (ELI Latvia programme leader), a Danish Power Consultant (ELI Europe programme manager) and the client – the Latvian Academy of Sports Education.

_ The project has achieved its main objective of reducing energy consumption by improving the lighting system of the sports hall. After installing the new lighting system, energy consumption was cut by 83,720 kWh/year. Despite the small size of the project, CO2 emissions were reduced by 30.4 tonnes/year.

_ The light control system allows different light levels to be used depending on what the sports hall is being used for.
The table below shows the energy consumption of the sports hall before and after installation of the new lighting system:
Operating time 4 064 hours/year 4 064 hours/year
Installed capacity 42.5 kW 16.5 kW
Electricity consumption 173,120 kWh/year 89,400 kWh/year
Energy savings 83,720 kWh/year

During the 10 year lifetime of the lighting system, the expected reduction of CO2 emissions is 304 tonnes.


Lessons Learned
Although the project was very small in terms of investment there were several large obstacles that had to be overcome. One of the most significant barriers was to attract the interest of an ESCo company and involve them in the project implementation. This was a general barrier in Latvia, which was overcome by carefully planned capacity building activities during the implementation of the ELI Programme. Different training courses and workshops to develop and train potential ESCos in Latvia were organised.

_ The project was also put in jeopardy due to a legislative barrier applicable to governmental organisations like LASE. Public institutions by law are not allowed to sign agreements for a period longer than five years, which was not acceptable for the ESCo. The solution was to sign an agreement for 5 years with a clause to extend it for another 5 years.

_ One of the most important reasons for the project’s success was the strong commitment of LASE to implementing the project. A lack of interest and knowledge of energy efficiency issues is often the major barrier to the implementation of energy efficiency projects in public institutions. Another important factor, which convinced LASE to participate in the project, was a pilot project implemented for efficient street lighting, developed and implemented by an ESCo company in Latvia. After the implementation of this project, LASE’s administration understood the importance and the benefits of energy saving measures. LASE has now started to consider the implementation of measures on a larger scale – such as reconstruction of the heating and water supply systems, again based of third party financing.

To know more



Ekodoma Ltd.

Claudio Rochas

Noliktavas street 3-3

Riga LV1010, Latvia

+371 7 323 212



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