Energy-Efficient School in Kyrgyzstan

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OSH, Kyrgystan — Kyrgyzstan, also known as Kyrgyz Republic, was annexed by Russia in 1864 but did not achieve its independence from the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991. The nation is located in central Asia, sandwiched between Kazakhstan, to its north, and China to its south.

Since its division from the Soviet Union, Kyrgyz Republic has struggled politically with the widespread poverty as well as ethnic divisions between the Kyrgyz located to the north, and the Uzbek communities in the south.

Kyrgyzstan is forced to import nearly 95 percent of the energy needs for heating due to having virtually no fossil fuel resources of their own. The abnormally high amount of energy consumption in the country has put a strain on its economy with buildings consuming 37 percent of the country’s energy. Because of this, the smallest reduction in energy consumption would yield a significant amount of cost savings for the country.

There have been measures made to support renewable energy in the Kyrgyz Republic such as a draft of the law “On Amendments and Additions to the Law of the KR” on renewable energy sources. The purpose of the bill as stated by the Ministry of Energy and Industry of the Kyrgyz Republic was to “improve the economic mechanisms to encourage the use of renewable energy sources (RES), including hydropower plants in order to attract investment.” This law was approved by Kyrgyz government in January 2012 and consequently sent to Parliament shortly thereafter.

The completion of two energy efficient schools in 2012 was a direct effect of the measures taken for renewable energy. One school was in Bishkek, Orto-Sai and the other school was located in the city of Osh.

Much progress has been made since the implementation of the formerly mentioned bills. Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s second largest city is now home to Central Asia’s most energy efficient building and school. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reports the school consumes 50 percent less energy than similar structures.

The large amount of energy being saved translates monetarily to about US $20,000 annually. Furthermore, the building proves to be even more beneficial during the cold winters by providing solar-heated water as well as high quality thermal insulation to keep the classrooms warm for the 970 students that attend.

One of the ways the architects prevented heat loss was to decrease the buildings external surface, making it 1.5 times smaller than schools with the same student capacity. Financing for the construction of the school was provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

To encourage more energy efficient constructions, the UNDP has provided educational materials ranging from training courses on energy performance, efficiency and savings to books on energy-efficient construction in related university programs.

With the energy-efficient school’s success, the Kyrgyz government has established a system to monitor energy consumption and has even adopted international recognized building energy performance codes.

– Janelle Mills

Sources: United Nations Development Programme, BBC, Ministry of Energy and Industry of the Kyrgyz Republic, Nations Online
Photo: PGS Advisor

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