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Green on Green (with Bridge Between Generations, 2013)

The project proposes using energy from photo-voltaic panels to heat a greenhouse in different ways, analyze and compare the results. The project proposed by the Promoter is in close connection with the activities of the Nursing Home that the Promoter has begun operating in 2012 and involves green innovation and a degree of green entrepreneurship in a rural area which is economically disadvantaged – Dridu village in Ialomita county – a rural area about 35 km outside of Bucharest.

It will address three outcomes of the Green Initiative program: Green products and services, Eco-innovation and will have a Releasing effect because of the essential investments in photo-voltaic systems made. It will also be aligned with the Romanian strategies of developing economic activities in rural areas and promoting sustainable development. In the long term the project will also provide essential input on using photo-voltaic energy to heat the premises. Currently the heating of the Nursing Home during the cold season is undertaken with two wood-burning heaters with combined yield of more than 60 kW. Using electrical boilers instead will cut or eliminate the carbon footprint of this activity. Moreover by changing the modality of using electricity to heat water in a boiler from the traditional resistive approach (heating a conductive metal by passing electricity through it) to a microwave approach (using a cavity magnetron) it is possible to obtain further increases in efficiency of heating with electricity.

From an environmental standpoint, photo-voltaic panels have two-fold advantages compared to other green methods of generating renewable energy. Compared to wind turbines and hydro-power plants, photo-voltaic panels extract solar radiation prior to it producing heating of atmosphere (the albedo effect). Compared to burning of vegetable mass or gas from organic materials (which also absorb directly or indirectly solar energy when produced and thus are carbon-neutral) it has the advantage of not producing carbon dioxide in the process.

Greenhouses offer extended vegetation periods for various plants in colder climates with two main advantages: fresh produce offered locally which cuts or eliminates transportation costs from warm climates (with the additional advantage of not having to use chemicals for maturation and preservation during transportation) and complete control over the way produce is grown (organic or otherwise). The downside is that heating costs for greenhouses are making the growing of produce outside of their natural growth cycles (cold season) very inefficient economically. Traditionally a way to cut these costs was to aggregate greenhouses with power plants that burn fossil fuels and generate heat as a byproduct. Besides the disadvantage of using fossil fuels for energy generation, in this situation the transportation costs and precautions (logistics and chemicals) are also present in various degrees, proportional with the quantity of the produce and the need to be grown in the immediate vicinity of the respective power plant, and afterwards shipped to areas at various distances. This project is proposing and studying ways to cut or eliminate transportation costs and related chemicals by having a greenhouse in place (on the premises), while eliminating the carbon footprint of heating a greenhouse by using photo-voltaic elements and finally generating extra revenue locally by producing electricity with the photo-voltaic elements. The greenhouse will also increase two- or three-fold the amount of organic produce cultivated by extending the vegetation period for the grown plants; this produce will be consumed by the Nursing Home residents. The surplus electrical power will be sold in the local electric grid to compensate for use of electricity in the nursing home (ventilation, refrigeration, heating, electronics, etc) and to generate income which can be used to improve the quality of life of the residents (by hiring extra personnel, or extra services and activities, equipment which otherwise cannot be afforded).

 

Acces to Ophtalmology (with Ghedemin/Herbasan, 2013)

The project titled “Improving access to basic ophthalmological services for the disadvantaged” proposed by The Ghedemin Association for Helping the Elderly is addressing to those with social, economic, mobility problems and in general to people with diminished access to ophthalmological services. Periodic ophthalmological consults and screenings can prevent the severe deterioration of the vulnerable persons, both their health status (diminished or loss of vision) and by increasing their needs for social assistance. In Bucharest alone it is estimated that over 20.000 elderly people have glaucoma or other eye problems which left undiagnosed or untreated can lead to blindness. After 2007 the number of specialty doctors in Romania has constantly decreased, significantly diminishing the access to health services especially for the elderly as the population most in need of these services.  Together with the partner The Bio-Forum Foundation – which ensures the co-financing for the project, research studies, fundraising activities for sustainable development and visibility – we will contribute to improving the quality of life for people who currently do not have access to basic ophthalmological services.

 

Improving Dridu House for The Elderly (with Bridge Between Generations, 2013)

The need for social services for the elderly has increased in Romania during the last years due to migration of youth in EU countries and a decrease of the birthrate in the 90’s, a situation more evident in the rural areas due to relocation of adults towards new opportunities in both the Romanian and European urban environment. The founding in 2012 by The Association “Bridge between Generations” of a Home for the Elderly with accommodations for 26 people in Dridu village, county Ialomita, has contributed to addressing this problem in a limited way compared to the need for assistance, having occupancy above 90% after just a few months of functioning. To extend the capacity to 46, of which 10 are for disabled persons, and to also improve the quality of the offered services, this project involves the vertical extension of the existing building (about 800 sq. meters), by adding another 328 m2 and the respective amenities, equipment acquisition and hiring specialized staff.This 18 month project is implemented through the cooperation of two Romanian NGO’s, involves their sustainable development and covers multiple Thematic Areas and Horizontal Themes of The Program.

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