The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) support energy efficiency in Kyrgyzstan's Jalal-Abad kindergarten
Frost-covered streets are a common sight when children leave their homes in Jalal-Abad in the hills of the Kyrgyz Republic. From November until the early spring, temperatures frequently drop below freezing.
“We have a continental climate here, far away from any oceans, with extreme temperatures both in summer and winter,” said Ashimov Kamil, who works for the city’s Mamalak kindergarten.
“It means that our buildings need to be prepared for this. It’s rarely been the case, but this is starting to change.”
Saving energy, saving money
The EBRD and the EU support this change across the country through the Kyrgyz Sustainable Energy Financing Facility. The Bank provides US$ 55 million in credit lines for local partner banks, which is complemented by €13.4 million in EU grants.
The EU contribution serves to identify the optimal energy savings for clients, to verify them after the installation and also to train local bankers on the new financial product.
The kindergarten in Jalal-Abad obtained a loan from Demir Bank, one of the partners in the program, and invested into installing better windows, a new boiler for its heating system and insulating the building walls.
This has led to significant energy and cost savings. The kindergarten’s energy use has dropped by around 50 per cent, explained teacher Gulnara Toktorbaeva.
“Our kindergarten hosts about 50 children who are between 18 months and six years old,” she said. “They are young so their comfort is extremely important to us. As teachers, we can now adjust the temperature properly, which was not the case before.”
The kindergarten is just one of 100 businesses and organisations that have benefited from such investments in the Kyrgyz Republic. From residential buildings to supermarkets and hotels, ordinary citizens and business-owners have improved their living and working conditions, while at the same time cutting down on energy consumption.
It has also made a real difference to the environment: in total, the investments have helped to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions by almost 39,000 tonnes a year – the equivalent of taking nearly 13,500 cars off the street.
“I’m really happy to see that my six-year old girl is well looked after in a warm environment,” said Lola Adinazarova, whose daughter goes to the Mamalak kindergarten.
“And even better, our children are also learning a valuable lesson on how important it is to look after the environment.”
The Kyrgyz Republic is particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change. The Tian Shan mountain range dominates the country and is a major source of water for the whole region, which is under threat from raising temperatures.
“Developing green economies is one of the EBRD’s main objectives in Central Asia and across the regions where it operates,” said Neil McKain, the EBRD Director for Central Asia.
“Investments in energy and water efficiency are both profitable and in everybody’s interest. They save energy and cut costs, make businesses more competitive and protect the environment for the next generation.”
“By investing in energy efficient homes in Kyrgyzstan, the EU is investing in the creation of a more affordable, healthier and more comfortable living environment for citizens and notably the most vulnerable segments of the society,” said Charlotte Adriaen, Head of Cooperation in the EU Delegation to the Kyrgyz Republic.
“By expanding the KyrSEFF+ program to include water saving measures, the EU and the EBRD apply a holistic approach to supporting projects focused on adaptation and resilience to climate change.”