Energy efficient housing to compensate for costs of inter-city commuting
By Yekaterina Markovtseva
“Belarus’ city planning policy for 2011-2015 aims to extend the use of satellite towns — not only for Minsk but for all regional centres,” Mr. Semenkevich asserts. Rather than building completely new towns, the aim is to develop existing settlements, enhancing their economic potential and infrastructure. This would make them more attractive to those seeking housing and /or jobs at the latest enterprises.
Mr. Semenkevich also notes that construction companies are being tasked with building energy efficient housing for satellite towns (accounting for 10 percent of all new-build properties). “Living in a house which uses innovative technologies in its construction is attractive to citizens. Moreover, heating and electricity bills are cheaper, enabling residents to save money,” he adds. The Deputy Minister explains that many people are daily commuting to work or study, travelling up to 40km, which is costly. “Daily commuting costs should be compensated for by reducing utility costs; to achieve this, we need energy efficient houses,” states Mr. Semenkevich.
Speaking of Belarus’ city planning policy for 2011-2015, he notes that it already covers five avenues — including the improvement of Belarus’ territorial organisation (to ensure the successful development of the potential of regions and towns — with a new focus on security, comfort and efficiency.
In line with the new policy, construction will aim to satisfy various needs for accommodation and public buildings. Transport is to be revamped to cut costs and raise the volume and quality of services. In addition, the country is to gain a new architectural face, using international, national and regional achievements in this field to raise the aesthetic beauty of existing suburbs and to construct landmark buildings. According to Mr. Semenkevich, this will ensure a unique visual identity for each Belarusian settlement.