Building Beacons project in Serbia

Building Beacons project in Serbia

This form of practical education aim is to transfer knowledge and instructions for practical implementation of circularity within the construction field. This project is a part of the international “Western Balkan Circular and Climate Innovation Beacons project supported by EIT Climate-KIC organization that represents the main European Union initiative in the field of innovation for adjustment to the climate changes.

CirEkon (Center for Circular Economy), partner of the Climate-KIC in association with, SrbGBC (Serbia Green Building Council), will provide you with necessary knowledge for practical implementation on the challenge of retrofitting.

Circular Beacons Building project in Serbia includes four phases based on knowledge, concept, circularity, feasibility and impact. Each of the four mentioned phases has a strong impact on the whole project.


The exchange of knowledge includes the first phase which will be realized through workshops on the practical part of the circular economy, construction and construction industry which will be created by Cleantech Bulgaria, Wuppertal Institute and City Loops project. The goal is to merge expertise from the building sector and circularity and present comprehensive knowledge to local target groups which are young architects, urbanists, and construction engineers. The expected outcomes cover target group of 30 people which has knowledge about circular approaches to construction and they are interested to continue exploring options for circular projects.


The concept phase will be followed by Green Building Council, Cleantech Bulgaria and CirEkon. It will include participants who will be selected in the first phase. Their task will be to respond to the challenge of finding a lot in the area of ​​Belgrade and turn it into an Open Space Circular Innovation. The goal of this phase is to create the first circular building in Serbia. The results will be presented through the formation of 5 multidisciplinary teams that will work on the mentioned challenge using the circularity tool. Finally, the multidisciplinary team that has the best response to the challenge moves on to the next phase of the program.


In parallel with the second phase, this phase will provide additional consulting services to the competition teams to guide them and advise on circularity in their projects. Strategies, models, and approaches that should be tackled in this phase are renovations, restoration, nature-based solution, brownfield, retrofitting, new facility management models, and space utilization. Through these strategies, participants will be more aware of the business approach and cross-functional teamwork.

Feasibility and Impact

The winning concept will be awarded the opportunity to work with Green Building Councill experts in a feasibility study for the Circular Economy Beacons project. Green Building Council will provide participants to assess the following aspects of the project such as economic feasibility, general impact assessment, cost/ impact assessment. Green Building Council and CirEkon will also help participants generate alternative business models to increase the feasibility of a final project proposal. CirEkon together with the Green Building Council and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia will present the outcome to the local municipality and assess options of further collaboration potentials. The project can be presented to other local governments in order to spread awareness and promote results. The goal is to create a systemic circular building proposal for investors and local governments through circular implementation.

The best project proposal will be awarded in the amount of 1.200 and each member of the team will receive an annual membership fee for the Green Building Council in Serbia.

Who is going to lead this project?

Maria Alexandrova
Maria Alexandrova

Maria Alexandrova is an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Manager at Cleantech Bulgaria.

She has extensive experience in innovation management, sustainable business development, and climate entrepreneurship. Maria has an engineering degree in textile technologies from the Technical University in Sofia and an MD in International Economic Relations from the University of National and World Economy, Bulgaria.

Previously to joining Cleantech Bulgaria, Maria gained years of experience in the field of technology transfer within the Enterprise Europe Network, where she managed innovation brokerage and new business development profiles of more than 30 Bulgarian innovative SMEs, research organizations, and innovators.

Since 2015 Maria specializes in entrepreneurship acceleration and incubation services including program development and coaching on disciplines from the start-up spectrum. Maria works on several innovative projects and training in the field of sustainable development innovation management in international consortia and has undergone an array of international masterclasses on topics of entrepreneurship and business development.

Maria serves as Horizon 2020 National Contact Point Network in the theme of Climate, Environment, resource efficiency, and raw materials. She is a Certified Professional in Innovation promotion by EIT Climate-KIC and a member of the International network of coaches of EIT Climate-KIC.

Dragana Korica
Dragana Korica

Dragana Korica, M.Arch, Executive directorSerbia Green Building Council . Dragana is dedicated to the realization of the goals of the organization that encourage and lead the transformation of the Serbian construction industry and market towards more sustainable and green construction principles.

With the title of Masters acquired at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Belgrade, she possesses the official license of a responsible designer of architectural projects – IKS. After her studies, instantly employed as an assistant at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, participating in teaching, on the development of publications, and as a guest lecturer, also working within the Institute for Materials and Structures Faculty of Civil Engineering – UB on projects and revisions.

She designed the coat of arms for the Faculty of Civil Engineering, which is still in use today. Co-founder of the EKI RD architectural bureau, working as lead designer on the preliminary and final architectural and construction projects and development of such. Designer of numerous interiors, designer and co-designer of architectural and urban projects, as well as several urban plans and revisions.

As co-author, she was awarded for several urban and architectural competitions. Always open to collaboration with related professions, as well as devoted to the education of the wider public on topics of positive environmental development. She is dedicated to advocating the need and advantages of sustainable building.

Milan Veselinov

M.Sc. Industrial ecology Milan Veselinov has been professionally dealing with the circular economy in Serbia since he returned from the Netherlands with the aim of helping responsible companies in the transition to good business, while creating a positive and acceptable environment for such business. The circular economy is his choice as the most logical model to  achieve higher profits with the delivery of better products and at the same time save resources, society and the environment. Therefore, it is his professional interest and his expertise.

He had worked on numerous EU projects, likewise on regional and local research and projects. He founded the company CirEkon, which is fully committed and specialized for the transition to a responsible circular economy.

He is a member of the World Club of Circular Economy Professionals, the European Group of Experts, the World Organization of Industrial Ecology Professionals, the European Network of Trainers and Coaches Dedicated to Combating Climate Change and is a Peer expert for the INTERREG EUROPE for matters on the topic of circular economy.

With the creation of the Academy for Circular Economy, he wants to bring the concept closer to the business world in Serbia and region in the best possible way. He is founder and lead of the expert and innovation Balkan circular economy network called Circular Economy Beacons  (CE Beacons) through which circularity is connecting Greece, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany and Spain.

He has obtained a master’s degree in Industrial Ecology at the joint program of the Dutch Technical University Delft, the University of Leiden, and the Austrian University Carl Franzens in Graz.

Jelena Duboka
Jelena Duboka

Jelena Duboka, M.Arch, an employee at REENG – Member of Serbia Green Building Council

Graduated from the Faculty of Architecture, the University of Belgrade in 2008. After graduation, she started her work experience as an architect-designer, since 2012 she has been in the field of energy efficiency of buildings and sustainable construction. She holds licenses of Responsible Engineer for Energy Efficiency of Buildings, as well as international certificates in the field of green building: LEED AP, BREEAM Green Associate, and EDGE Expert.

She participated in LEED, BREEAM, and EDGE certification of several facilities. In collaboration with international organization GIZ and Architectural Faculty in Belgrade, she worked on energy efficiency methodologies and cost-optimal analysis for residential and public buildings in Serbia.

She has significant experience in energy simulations, thermal comfort analysis, and energy management, as well as LCA and LCC studies.  Jelena works in company REENG, which is a member of the Serbia Green Building Council.

Mariyana Hamanova-Rondini
Mariyana Hamanova

Mariyana Hamanova is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Cleantech Bulgaria.

She has over 10 years of experience in project management in the field of sustainable development, environmental protection, circular economy, optimization of resources in the industry and business, Energy, Waste and Water management, legislation compliance of environmental procedures, etc.

Mariyana is a guest lecturer at the University of Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation in Sofia (VUZF) and runs classes part of the Master program “Circular economy and sustainable management”, jointly developed by VUZF and Cleantech Bulgaria. Mrs. Hamanova is responsible for programs for business incubation, consulting, and funding of start-ups.

She graduated from the University of Constance, Germany with a focus on sociology and organizational development and holds a dual Master’s degree from FOM University – Essen, Germany, and the Technical University of Sofia.

Mariana Hamanova is also one of the founders of Back2BG – an initiative dedicated to Bulgarian specialists and students abroad. She is, as well, the co-organizer of the leading professional exhibition in Bulgaria – “Career in Bulgaria”. Why not? “, which focuses on the professional development of Bulgarians with international education and experience.

Ivan Velkov
Ivan Velkov

Mr. Ivan Velkov is chairman of the Bulgarian Facility Management Association (BGFMA) – the professional facility management organization of Bulgaria.

BGFMA plays a vital role in popularising and enhancing the prestige of the Facility Manager profession in Bulgaria and Southeast Europe. BGFMA works closely with central and local governments and has a leading role in the development and amendment of laws and regulations, related to the professional facility management of the real estate, processes, physical assets, and infrastructure.

Ivan Velkov is part of the management bodies of several professional and sector organizations, as well as public benefit organizations. He is also a member of the management board of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Velkov was vice-president of the Metropolitan Municipal Council between 2015 and 2019.

Elitsa Petkova
Elitsa Petkova

Elitsa Petkova is a project coordinator in Cleantech Bulgaria.

She holds a master’s degree in Environmental Management & Sustainability Science from Aalborg University, Denmark with a focus on Tools for sustainable development, Life-Cycle Management, Sustainable Consumption & Production, Climate Change, and Circular economy.

Elitsa has more than five years of experience with environmental coordination in a manufacturing company including optimization of processes, collection, monitoring, and analysis of environmental data, development of strategies and policies for the reduction of environmental impacts, and continuous improvements.

Currently, Elitsa manages diverse educational projects for building capacity for entrepreneurs as well as projects for policy support on the national level both in the field of the circular economy.

Dina Padalkina
Dina Padalkina

Dina Padalkina is founder & CEO of Circular Berlin, City & Built Environment Lead. Since 2017, Dina is actively involved in the Circular Economy scene in Berlin, gathering diverse knowledge in the fields of Circular Cities, Construction, Food, and Textiles.

She is active within the Circular Berlin initiative and cooperates with a range of Berlin-based partners. Dina is also part of many European Circular Economy networks, dedicated to pushing the Circular Economy debate towards implementation.

Laura Bergs
Laura Bergs

Laura Bergs has been a junior researcher in the department of circular economy at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, and Energy since 2019.

She finished a double master’s degree in Eco-Design and Regenerative Energy Systems & Technical Energy Management from the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt, Wieselburg, in 2019 (Master of Science in Natural Science and Master of Science in Engineering). She completed her double bachelor’s degree in Natural Forensic Science and Forensic and Analytical Science in 2016 at the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, Rheinbach, and the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen UK (BSc. and BSc (Hons)).

Her work focuses on sustainability assessments in the form of life cycle assessments. A further field of activity is the continued development of the building model of the circular economy department.

Jana Nicolas
Jana Nicolas

Jana Nicolas holds an M.A. degree in Business and Environment Management from the University of Applied Sciences Trier, Germany (2016).

She is a Researcher at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment Energy since 2016 in the department Circular Economy and there in the Research Unit Digital Transformation. Jana is focusing her work on the establishment of a circular economy in and between companies, the involvement of other stakeholders, and how digitization can develop a leveraging effect on the necessary transformation.

She explores how to engage relevant stakeholders, how to establish Circular Economy knowledge and practices, and how to adapt existing knowledge to different settings.

We are looking forward to implementing this part of CE Beacons project in Serbia.

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