Making a difference to air quality in the Western Balkans

By Maria Rozanova

Serbian city at sunset

  • EBRD supports green technology investments for over 1,500 families
  • €8 million invested resulting in CO2 emissions reduced by 2.5 million kg per year
  • Finance provided under EBRD Green Economy Financing Facility for Western Balkans

World Environment Day today is the perfect occasion to underline the urgent need to combat climate change and highlight successful examples of such work.

One such is the EBRD Green Economy Financing Facility in the Western Balkans (WB GEFF) which protects the environment by encouraging better and more efficient use of energy. To date, its €8 million of investments in projects have contributed to saving over 7 million kWh of energy and more than 2.5 million kg of CO2 emissions per year.

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is air pollution. Here WB GEFF makes a real difference. Such savings are equivalent to the energy consumption of over 500 households or 1,600 cars removed from the streets every year.

Worldwide, 92 per cent of the population do not breathe clean air and air pollution hits countries in the Balkans region especially hard. World Environment Day 2019 urges businesses, communities and individuals to come together to explore renewable energy and green technologies that can improve air quality across the world.

The EBRD does by engaging local communities. Through local partner financial institutions, the facility provides funds for investments into highly-efficient energy technologies for the residential sector.

The European Union’s investment incentive of up to 20 per cent helps to make the loan more affordable to clients. Upon the investment's completion and verification, clients may receive the incentive in the form of a cashback.

Every household can contribute by consuming energy more efficiently. This in turn helps reduce air pollution. By using energy-efficient solutions such as modern windows and doors, heating/cooling systems and systems used for insulation, households can significantly reduce their carbon footprint while at the same time achieve significant savings.

Although WB GEFF has been in operation for only one and half years, the programme has already reached almost 1,500 families in the Western Balkans, demonstrating the strong demand for green lending in the region.

In the effort to make information on energy efficiency technologies easily available to homeowners, the facility has been using the EBRD’s innovative, user-friendly Technology Selector. This online platform lists over 18,000 highly energy efficient products pre-approved for financing from 13 categories, offered by almost 4,500 vendors throughout the Western Balkans.

EBRD GEFF was made possible with the support of the European Union (EU), the Austrian Ministry of Finance (BMF) and the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), in cooperation with the Energy Community Secretariat (ECS).