Subscribe to Future Europe on iTunes, Spotify and Acast.
Future Europe features a podcast episode from each of the EU’s 28 Member States. Each episode tells the story of a project that illuminates the way Europeans will live in the future. All the stories are told through the voices of people involved in the projects.
Lucie Fialová stands in the middle of a huge laundry at the Motol University Hospital near Prague. She is surrounded by driers, washing machines and steam presses. The noise and the heat are a sign of what she and her company have achieved.
“Everything you can see here is new,” she says. “The complete reconstruction not just of the machinery but of the building itself was made in the past year.”
Fialová is the head of Pragoperun, a company that supplies and maintains industrial laundries across the Czech Republic. The company works in medical facilities, hotels, retirement homes and other institutions.
The laundry in the Motol hospital is part of a new initiative by the company to provide new and more productive machinery. Pragoperun benefited from the joint initiative between the European Commission (under the LIFE programme) and the European Investment Bank lending programme called Private Finance for Energy Efficiency, or PF4EE.
PF4EE was launched in 2015 to offer affordable commercial financing for energy efficiency projects across the EU. The programme involves collaboration between the EIB and lenders in various EU countries. In the Czech Republic, the EIB worked with one of the country’s major lenders, Komerční Banka.
Motivated by energy efficiency
“It was quite an interesting experience to begin a new kind of cooperation with the European Investment Bank,” says Jan Rosen, a product manager with Komerční Banka. He adds that plenty of clients have benefitted from the energy initiative.
“The main criteria were that the clients’ projects had to be motivated by a reduction of energy consumption – not just profit,” he says.
PF4EE has several elements:
- An EIB loan to support energy efficiency projects via local banks, such as Komerční Banka in the Czech Republic
- Coverage for potential losses incurred from energy efficiency loans
- The ability for local banks to lend to businesses at lower rates and with fewer guarantees
- Technical and financial experience to help businesses achieve profits and energy efficiency
Komerční Banka’s loans are designed to modernise heating systems, increase energy efficiency in manufacturing and technological processes, and promote renewable energy by installing equipment such as solar panels.
Komerční Banka has loaned about €33.5 million to over 50 small and medium-sized businesses across the Czech Republic.
Alexandra Almeida, an EIB senior loan officer responsible for operations with financial institutions in Eastern and Central Europe, says the collaboration with Komerční Banka has been good for all sides.
A big success for businesses
“I am very fortunate and happy to have helped Komerční Banka identify eligible projects and make this facility a major success for both our institutions,” Almeida says.
Rosen, the Komerční Banka product manager, says the programme helps with social responsibility.
“The motivation to reduce energy consumption as a result of this initiative has a long-term perspective,” Rosen says. “For us, this is an example of how we can do more and give back to society.”
In the midst of humming machinery in the huge laundry at the Motol University Hospital, Fialová considers what the loan from Komerční Banka has meant for her company, Pragoperun, and for the world outside.
“It’s been really meaningful not just for the hospital,” she says. “It’s not just been about selling machinery. We are saving energy and in principle we are saving our environment.”