EBRD, EU and Austria help homeowners in Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve energy efficiency

By Bojana Vlajcic

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Nijaz Mašić lives with his wife in a village near Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The winters are long and cold, with energy and heating costs unstable and rising.

For 20 years the family, like most households in the neighbourhood, used coal and wood for heating. During the winter, they would usually spend €1,000 just to keep warm, which at twice the country’s average monthly wage is a significant expense.

Last year, the family decided to invest in a heat pump and were looking for ways to finance it. They applied for a loan from the EBRD’s Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF) at a local microfinance institution, Partner. GEFF provides finance to households for investments in energy saving measures, in cooperation with local partner financial organisations. The borrowers also receive up to 20 per cent cashback following the successful installation of energy efficient technology. These grant incentives are funded by the European Union.

The first cold season with the newly installed energy efficient heating system has just ended and the family felt the benefits immediately.

"I decided to invest in the heat pump mostly for financial and environmental reasons,” says Nijaz. “The monthly electricity bill is now only €120 and the temperature is always set to a comfortable 22 degrees Celcius. We no longer have to turn off the heating during the night to save fuel and our home feels more comfortable. I am getting older and it has become more difficult to prepare firewood, which needs to be cut, loaded, hauled and brought in. The heat pump is simpler and does not create additional work for me."

Another advantage of the new heating system is the mobile app, which allows Nijaz to adjust the heating and temperature in the house on the go.

The family invested about €5,100 in the new heat pump and the EU-funded incentive was around €760. Their energy consumption is expected to decrease by about 24,000 KWh per year, which means savings of € 770 per year in electricity costs. The extra savings on electricity costs will allow the family to repay the investment in 6 to 7 years.

In addition to keeping the family warmer, the heat pump has added value to their home.

"Green technologies are still a novelty in BiH, and I am the first in my neighbourhood to have invested in a heat pump but it has already met my expectations. A couple of years ago, I installed energy efficient windows and thermal insulation, and in the future I plan to install solar panels, which I will also be able to connect to this new heat pump system,” concludes Nijaz.

GEFF is implemented across the Western Balkans through the Regional Energy Efficiency Program (REEP Plus) and is co-financed by the European Union. The technical assistance for the programme is supported by the Ministry of Finance of Austria and the Western Balkans Investment Framework.

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