EBRD, EU and WBIF donors finance energy efficient refurbishment of public hospital in Zenica

By Volker Ahlemeyer


€11 million EBRD loan and WBIF grant to save energy and improve services for over 300,000 patients each year

  • Total of €11 million to finance energy efficient refurbishment of Zenica Cantonal Hospital.
  • Investment will save energy, reduce CO2 emissions and improve air quality in the city.
  • Zenica is one of the largest and most polluted cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

To address air pollution in one of the most affected cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EBRD is teaming up with the European Union and the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) to help the hospital in Zenica save energy.

The EBRD is extending a €10 million loan which will be complemented by a €1 million investment grant under the Regional Energy Efficiency Programme for the Western Balkans (REEP).

The programme is a joint initiative of the European Union, bilateral donors and beneficiary countries cooperating under the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). REEP is implemented by the EBRD in close collaboration with the Energy Community Secretariat.

Zenica is one of the largest and most polluted cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city’s hospital was built in 1959, has a capacity of 950 beds and employs around 1,600 staff, who serve more than 300,000 patients a year. The hospital has not seen any major refurbishment since its opening. Today the buildings are underheated in winter and too hot in summer while at same time being highly energy inefficient and the city’s second largest air polluter after the local steelworks.

The funds will finance the most urgent investment needs, including improvements to the building envelope (wall/roof insulation and door/window replacement), the installation of energy efficient gas-fired boilers (to replace the current polluting lignite fired ones), rehabilitation of the heat distribution system and introduction of adequate central ventilation and cooling systems. The works will also include the construction of a 2,800 m2 energy efficient extension to provide adequate space for all hospital departments. It will also introduce a new drainage system to tackle flooding attributed largely to the effects of climate change.

The investments, together with comprehensive energy efficiency measures, will result in energy savings of more than 60 per cent and the reduction of CO2 emissions by up to 80 per cent. This will benefit the city and the region. At the same time, patients will be offered better service.

The project will become a trigger investment for additional plans to tackle the climate and environmental challenges of the city. In an effort to provide more low-carbon and sustainable services to its residents, the city of Zenica is cooperating with the EBRD to develop a Green City Action Plan with support from the Republic of Austria. The plan will identify, prioritise and address Zenica’s most pressing environmental challenges.

It is the first such action plan in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with two more to follow in Sarajevo and Banja Luka. The wider Green Cities Programme builds on the EBRD’s two decades of experience investing in municipal and environmental infrastructure.