Skopje is one of the most polluted cities in Europe.
Air pollution continues to take a toll on the health of all residents of Skopje and particularly affecting the most vulnerable populations – people with chronic diseases, children and elderly.
Fast action to tackle air pollution can’t come soon enough.

Household heating is one of the main culprits, accounting for at least 32% of total harmful emissions.

A UNDP survey of 5,044 households revealed that only 21% of residents are connected to the central-heating system, whereas 45% heat their houses with wood.

Wood-burning is one of the most polluting forms of heating. Poorer families, particularly Roma, burn even more hazardous materials, which can trigger respiratory ailments.

Identifying alternative heating solutions is thus key to reducing pollution and protecting public health


Over 90% of homes do not have any thermic insulation on their facades and roofs.

Most of the respondents stated that they would welcome the opportunity of taking up favorable soft
loans from the banks if such were provided to improve the insulation and implement other measures that will improve the energy efficiency of their homes. This would help them reduce the amount of energy needed for heating and reduce pollution.

▼ Why this survey? ▼

There is a lack of data on the different types of home heating systems in Skopje. This hinders the development of policies and measures that could reduce pollution and protect public health.

This is the first ever comprehensive field survey on heating practices conducted on such high sample that has been carried out in Skopje. It covers 5,044 households in all 17 urban and rural municipalities in Skopje Valley. The sample allows for analysis at level of municipality or even settlement.

It has been carried out in January 2017, by professional researchers using a mobile app called “Placeformer”. This innovative tool enables the gathering of geotagged and visually appealing information which can be easily used for designing policies and measures at local and micro level, starting from the smallest of neighborhoods and regional and national levels.


▼ Number of interviews per municipality ▼
Skopje RegionUrbanRuralTotal
Gazi Baba460227687
Gorce Petrov213148361
Kisela Voda44346489
Cucer Sandevo06060
Suto Orizari1780178

Place of living

Number of people living in a household

The large majority (97%) of the respondents in rural areas live in houses. Only 3% live in apartments.

The average size of the houses is 88 m2 and the average size of the apartments is 65m2.

Almost 60% of the households have problems with thermic insulation, particularly roofs and windows.

How skopje houses are heated?

Skopje houses heating by a municipality (PDF)


What is your preferred heating method?

How many hours per day do you use the heating system in winter?

The central heating system is only available in urban areas and is most often used by people living in apartments. Wood heating prevails in 30% of urban areas and 85% of rural areas households.  However, most of these households use old stoves and other heating devices which are not only inefficient, but also highly polluting.

m3 wood burned per heating season

Not everyone can afford to heat their entire house or apartment in winter. For example:

  • Households with income lower than 9.000 denars (150 EUR) heat only 25-33% of their home.
  • Over 45% of households with income higher than 27.000 denars heat their entire home.
  • Over 76% of households that use wood for heating heat 50% or less of their homes.
  • Over50% of households that use pellets heat their entire home.

Which device do you use for wood burning?

How old is your heating device?

How did you choose the right heating system for your home?

Monthly cost




Investment cost


Automation of the system cost




  • The investment cost plays a decisive role in a household’s choice of a heating system.
  • 40% of the respondents stated that their choice of heating system is based on the monthly heating bill.
  • Only 1% of the respondents made a decision based on whether a heating system is polluting.
  • However, if the prices for different heating systems were the same, all of the respondents would go for the least harmful and polluting option.

Would you connect your home to the central heating system if this would mean that the heating price would be just a little bit more expensive?





I am connected


If you could choose a heating system without having to think of investment and monthly expenses, what would be your preferred choice?

If it were available and if the costs were only slightly higher, the large majority of the respondents would opt for central heating.
There is a very small interest and lack of knowledge about heat pump systems – which are a low cost, safe and non-polluting solution.

Is somebody in your neighborhood burning harmful substances as fuel (plastic, paint, used oils and other)?





I don't know


One third of the respondents reported that harmful substances are being used for heating households in their neighborhoods. This is a common phenomenon not just for rural but also for urban areas.

Particularly, the residents of municipalities that are not connected to central heating have a tendency to burn biomass and plastic waste in heating stoves. This is a major cause for both indoor and outdoor pollution and a high risk for pneumonia.

Potential use of alternative harmful fuels and burning stubble


online calculator of most economically and ecologically friendly heating methods for households.

Heat calculator