EBRD works with Kyrgyz civil society to build a sustainable future

By Volker Ahlemeyer

EBRD works with Kyrgyz civil society to build a sustainable future

EU and Slovak Republic funds boost residential energy efficiency in Kyrgyz Republic

Many of the countries where the EBRD invests are known for their high energy consumption. The Kyrgyz Republic is, unfortunately, no exception. It faces a legacy of inefficient energy use and many residential buildings are dilapidated.

This is clearly visible around the capital Bishkek. While the city centre has added new, modern buildings to its skyline, the story is different in the suburbs and further afield.

Kyrgyz traditional homes, built with brick and clay, have little or often no insulation at all. Some have an open-air attic, exposed to the elements, that is used as storage area.

The Kyrgyz Republic is three and a half times more energy intensive on average than European Union countries. The Kyrgyz continental climate leads to temperatures ranging from -30°C in mountain villages in winter to over 40°C during summer months.

There are huge opportunities to cut harmful CO2 emissions, help people save money and make their homes more comfortable.

To foster change, the EBRD has reached out to civil society and teamed up with local non-governmental organisation Camp Alatoo.

The programme was funded by the Slovak Republic and has helped to boost builders’ know-how on construction techniques and materials to use to save energy.

“Together with the EBRD, we launched a vocational training course on residential energy efficiency,” explained Ulan Amanturov from the beneficiary NGO Camp Alatoo.

“We’ve gathered best practice from international experts and we are training builders on insulating walls, windows and roofs. We started in Bishkek at first and then rolled out the courses across the country, to Balykchy, Karakol and Naryn.”

The EBRD supports NGO Camp Alatoo to provide training on residential energy efficiency to builders across the Kyrgyz Republic.

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The training activities consist of several days of classes that provide builders with hands-on experience. During the course, the participants learn, for example, how to install insulation materials on a training wall. Furthermore, they receive a technical manual for their future work.

“Home insulation can be very efficient so long as you use the correct materials,” said Jigitaly Shamshiev, a builder who has benefitted from the EBRD’s training activities.

“However, there’s a lack of qualified builders who can do this work. I’m glad I learned how to do it properly as it’s the main source of income for me and my family.”

Jigitaly is one of nearly 100 builders who have already benefitted from the EBRD’s training activities. He knows from his own experience and that of his clients that saving energy at home has important benefits.

The project with Camp Alatoo is relatively small but it complements one of the EBRD’s significant investments in the country.

The Kyrgyz Sustainable Energy Efficiency Financing Facility (KyrSEFF) helps both businesses and residential customers to take out loans with one of the EBRD’s partner banks for energy efficiency investments.

The European Union supports this programme by funding various activities, such as energy audits to help identify the best energy cutting measures and verify their impact. Other donors include Austria, the Czech Republic, Spain and Sweden.

Builders who have successfully participated in Camp Alatoo’s courses become part of a list of certified installers that KyrSEFF recommends to potential clients.

The training activities are therefore yet another step closer to ensure that the EBRD’s activities have a long-term impact in the Kyrgyz Republic.

“Our goal was to transfer technical expertise on residential energy efficiency to a local NGO and to help Camp Alatoo manage the training in the long run,” said Biljana Radonjic-Ker Lindsay, the EBRD’s Head of Civil Society Engagement.

“The impact is two-fold: it results in more energy efficient homes, while it has also strengthened the capacity of a civil society organisation and made people aware of sustainability challenges more generally.”

It has already brought some tangible benefits to Jigitaly. Thanks to his new skills, he has been able to attract new customers who are specifically interested in saving energy, he explains. It’s a new start that will help him to build a better future for his family and his country.