How to environmentally improve production and simultaneously become more energetically independent?

You can see it in ART Ltd, a company from Sv.Petar, Duga Resa, Croatia, thanks to grants from European Regional Development Fund which were not easily won. For some time now an ART Ltd is using an eco-friendly and energy efficient technology in their production.

Received European funding

At the state level, this project is part of the Operational Programme for Regional Competitiveness 2007-2013., The responsible authority is the Ministry of Business and Trade MINPO, carried out by the Central Finance and Contracting CFCA, and the main objective is to increase the competitiveness of small and medium-sized Croatian enterprises investing in innovative materials and technologies and by encouraging energy efficiency and environmental protection in production practices.

General project information


220.943,87 EUR

Source of financing:

187.537,16 EUR (84.88%) co-financed by European Union from ERDF

33.406,71 EUR (15.22%) financed by ART d.o.o.


18 months: June 20th,  2013  – December 19th,  2014

Priority axis / measure:

Priority 2 Strengthening the competitiveness of croatian economy /

Measure 2.1 Improving business climate



Place of implementation:

Production site ART Ltd, Sv.Petar 12d, 47250 Duga Resa, Croatia

Responsible Authority:

Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts, MINPO

Implemented by:

Central Finance and Contracting Agency, CFCA/SAFU

Project goals:

Increased competitiveness of Croatian SME's by investing in innovative materials,

technologies and best practice production methods associated with the introduction of energy efficiency and environmental protection in production processes

Introduction of environmentally friendly finishing materials for picture frames and wooden furniture through upgrading existing production facilities in accordance with the standards for improving environmental protection and energy efficiency

Investing in new and advanced production methods that rely on the use of renewable solar energy by introducing elements of best practice that will increase the quality of production and improve our business efficiency

Expected results:

- Up to 80% substitution of nitro and polyurethane based  finishing materials  with 

  eco-  friendly water based  finishing materials

- up to 60% increased energy efficiency in production

- approximately 46.3% reduced annual CO2 emission compared to data from 2011

- Reduced costs and increased speed of production

- Increased productivity for 20% and increased competitiveness in domestic and  European

  markets –  further  market expanding

- Created conditions for further sustainable development

Key activities:

- Introduction of a specialised drying chamber for water based finishing materials for

   wooden products

- Introduction of 50kW Photovoltaic Power Plant

- Introduction of 3000 litre capacity Solar Thermal System

- Training of technical staff for use of introduced technologies

- Dissemination of project: 

   a. 2500 trilingual bulletins with project implementation report

   b. 1000 bilingual catalogues for products with eco-friendly  water based finishing materials

End recipients:

Company employees; local population; local and regional government and economic authority

Contact person:

Dunja Pogačić, ART d.o.o. Development Manager, Sv.Petar  12d, 47250 Duga Resa,

gsm. +385 92 1534 535, tel. +385 47 841 638, fax. +385 47 841 400,,


Strong competition

Father and daughter Željko and Dunja Pogačić, who are both architects, and son Jakov Pogačić, a student of entrepreneurial management, have jointly prepared this project and applied and won a grant from Structural Funds  - European Regional Development Fund. The projects name is ˝ECO-FRAME YOUR ENVIRONMENT – new materials and technologies for eco-friendly production of picture frames and wooden furniture˝. It took a year and a half to prepare the project and through this process they were assisted by councillors from the Development Agency of Karlovac County ˝Karla˝, employees of Karlovac County Chamber and advisors on specialized workshops held by Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts and Central Financing and Contracting Agency.  After three elimination rounds in the competition of more than 1,000 submitted projects, their project was in the 50 projects selected for co-financing.

- We want to use this opportunity to encourage other Croatian SMEs to register their projects for these and similar competitions that support the development of the Croatian economy, and we also plan to apply again as soon as we devise the next project and find adequate incentive program - Dunja Pogačić.

New technologies

Project implementation started on June 20th, 2013. Public procurement for supplies and services was conducted according to European regulations, new technology for improving production and has been accordingly contracted and delivered, installed and is in use. With this new equipment a major substitution of final paints and varnished has been conducted in favour to water based ones compared to the nitro and polyurethane based ones that were previously used. Electrical and thermal energy is obtained from renewable solar sources, and the dissemination of the project has been carried out with 2500 trilingual bulletins and 1000 catalogues of new products being distributed. Information about usefulness of new energy efficient technologies and feasibility of this and similar projects that are wholeheartedly supported by Republic of Croatia in cooperation with the European Union has been widely spread.

Speed and quality 

In accordance with market demand for products with an optimal ratio of high quality and reasonable price it is our goal to continue to increase and ensure competitiveness in relation to imported products as well as to increase the proportion of our production for export. Our company is faced with the problem of satisfying increasingly higher demands for eco-friendly products set by Croatian and European consumers and the requirements of local and regional authorities and population for better environmental protection.

Paints and varnishes based on nitro and polyurethane solvents are under EU regulations 57/548/EEY and 199/45/EC, and their modifications and amendments, classified as hazardous. Therefore, the plan of the European Union is to replace up to 95% nitro and polyurethanes based finishing materials with those of water-based by year 2020, in order to achieve a higher level of energy efficiency and reduce emissions caused by drying of finishing materials on based on nitro and polyurethane.

For this purpose, we conducted a mayor substitution, about 80%, of finishing materials based on nitro and polyurethane, which were up to now mainly  used in our production, with new and eco-friendly finishing materials based on water. Such substitution required certain technological modifications of production process. Water evaporates slower than solvents based on nitro and polyurethane which causes problems in classical drying process in open air making the procedure considerably longer and also leading to possible damaging shape deformations of raw wooden products. To eliminate potential negative effects of open air drying process through this project we introduced specialised drying chamber for automated and mechanically controlled drying conditions with constant temperature and pressure that also eliminates dust particles from the immediate drying environment. In addition to achieving high quality finishing it will also significantly reduce total time for performing the finishing, from 3 to 10 times in duration. Aforementioned benefits enable a higher quality and faster production which is essential for meeting new product delivery deadlines.

Solar energy

The next issue was satisfying requirements for energy efficiency in production. With current daily average of 100kW/h consumption of electricity and existing classical water heating system, with 4800l capacity, planned technological production facility upgrade with introduction of a specialized drying chamber inevitably meant a further increase in energy needs. The solution for this problem was to upgrade the internal energy network with technology that transforms renewable solar energy into electricity and thermal energy that will be directly used in our production processes. On southern roof surfaces of our production facility we installed 50kW Photovoltaic Power Plant and 3000 litre Solar Thermal System for heating technological water that is used by a classical and vacuum drier and new specialised drying chamber for water based finishing materials. These technological improvements will reduce the need for external power supply and eliminate negative effects of production deadlocks due to external network instabilities. In addition to increasing energy efficiency it will also reduce air pollution caused by smoke generated through conventional methods of heating by burning wooden derivates.

Particular added-value elements

Improvements of production methods on the models of best practice and technological upgrade for increased energy efficiency in production will have positive impact on environmental issues. Our records show that in the last 3 years on average we have been annually using 9.4 tons of finishing materials which contain 5.5 tons of nitro and polyurethane based solvents. Process of applying finishing materials based on nitro and polyurethane has a by-product in the form of harmful solvent vapours and solid chemical waste with a special disposing procedure. Introduction of new water based finishing materials significantly increases the level of environmental protection and reduces air pollution. Introduction of Solar Thermal System for heating technological water will also significantly reduce air pollution created through conventional heating system of burning firewood and residual scrap-wood. Project implementation promotes an economic development based on local potential through the promotion of local ownership and high quality, unique and recognizable designed and 100% locally made products.

Final public presentation

A final public presentation has been held on Thursday, December 18th, 2014 at the premises of ART Ltd in Duga Resa.

Finally, we would like to thank the above relevant institutions and agencies, local and regional authorities, the media, the project partners, all companies stakeholders, satisfied customers, and of course all our employees! – Željko Pogačić concluded.



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