Energy conservation in Kyrgyzstan: it is not cold until it is warm
12/04-2012 12:45, Bishkek – 24.kg news agency , by Julia KOSTENKO
The past severe winter forced not only the owners of houses who made warmer doors and windows, but powermen, who failed to provide proper heat supply to citizen, to think about keeping heat. The bill on energy efficiency of buildings has been discussed in Kyrgyzstan since 2011. But it was put into execution only in February 2012. Besides, draft regulations on approval of provisions for energy certification of buildings and heating boilers was prepared. But will it be effective in Kyrgyzstan, where every person thinks that electricity must be free of charge and powermen ought to worry about its preservation?
Savings of all
Not one panel discussion was held on the subject of energy conservation and energy efficiency. But the dialogue finished after speech of the representatives of the State Agency on Construction and Regional Development that by the way must regulate adhearance to these norms. Officials one by one were in a hurry to take them off after finishing fiery speeches about the necessity to save energy and to develop corresponding bills. And it is very serious in Kyrgyzstan.
According to Nurzat Abdyrasulova, co-chairwoman of the Advisory council on the initiative of fuel and energy complex transparency, about 48 percent of all energy consumed are allotted to the buildings sector. “Kyrgyzstan consumes 3-4 times more heat than the EU countries, as 80 percent of the buildings were erected in the 50-80 years of the last century. They are characterized by a high level of energy losses. They can be made warmer, but the new houses should be built following the principles of energy conservation,” she said.
In Kyrgyzstan, population initially saves on fuel and weatherization, and then fork out for buying costly drugs. Director of the Research Design Institute of Earthquake Engineering Seyitbek Imanbekov told 24.kg news agency that energy-saving principles are not used in Kyrgyzstan. “Since 1995 the State Building Committee brings up the issue of energy resources savings. Fuel prices are increased each year, and people, especially those from socially vulnerable strata, can not stock up for the whole winter. Therefore, they are forced to save on heating,” he said.
Experts note it is impossible to save on energy-conservative houses construction. All materials are imported from abroad. That is why prices are high. The republic has no its own production.
When building a thermal efficient housing it is necessary to take into account the features of climate and choose a shape of structure and materials in accordance with this. Employees of the State Agency for Construction and Regional Development note that rodents infest houses with organic insulators, and they can destroy the structure. The main problem is that Kyrgyzstan’s construction companies may build a warm house, but can not protect it against pests.
We don’t care a damn?
Energy-saving lamps will allow saving electricity. Their mass distribution began in these latter days. But unlikely we will follow the example of foreign countries and abandon electric incandescent lamps. It is not a secret that energy-saving lamps contain mercury. So they should be utilized in a special way, but people in Kyrgyzstan can not do this.
Zulfizar Mirdzhalalova, member of the Independent Environmental Assessment Public Association, noted “energy-saving lamps sold in Kyrgyzstan contain mercury from 2 to 10 milligrams. After their use mercury may go into the atmosphere. So, we should follow security measures beginning from equipment transportation,” she explained.
However, sellers have their own opinion in this respect. They assert that a fluorescent energy-saving lamp is 5 times brighter than an incandescent lamp of the same power that allows saving up to 80 percent of electricity. If an energy-saving lamp is damaged or broken, it is necessary only to ventilate the area and remove debris, as harmful vapors of mercury are low.
But Kyrgyz ecologists do not recommend changing usual lamps for new ones.
We can handle any quandaries, nothing is hard for us
Of course, we can abandon hazardous chemicals and use solar energy, heat and wind. Some of the Kyrgyz people have already installed solar panels to heat water, but it is very expensive.
According to estimates of the companies engaged in the implementation of energy saving equipment, it is possible to install four collectors, solar automation, storage tank of 300 liters with built-in boiler for hot water of 100 liters for a comfortable life in a house of 100 square meters. They estimated all these at $ 4.5 thousand.
Sellers say that the system will be compensated for 5-7 years, and the owner can obtain an almost complete independence from the power companies.
Entrepreneurs also suggest using energy efficient stoves - fuel economy is up 40 percent. Usually 2 tons of coal are burnt in a conventional oven during heating season, then energy efficient oven will use from 0.8 to 1 ton. But it costs more than KGS 7 thousand. It turns out that energy-efficient house will cost the owner a pretty penny.
Cheap but good
In Kyrgyzstan, the depreciation of heating equipment exceeds 80 percent. Networks were constructed in the 60-70 years of last century. They lost up to 45 percent of heat energy.
According to the Program of Energy Conservation Development till 2015, in the early 90s the republic’s population consumed more than 16 percent of electricity supplied to the domestic market. This was due to the fact that over 5 million tons of coal were extracted per year, 2.5 billion cubic meters of gas and 600 thousand of burner fuel were supplied. At the moment electricity consumption has changed: the population consumes 60.5 percent of electricity because of its cheapness in comparison with other fuels.
Power engineering specialists are sounding the alarm: electricity networks can not withstand high loads, and it’s time to use renewable energy. Funding for these activities should be carried out from the republican budget. But money for a new program is not provided.
Unfortunately, so far we observe not only authorities’ inaction, but passivity of homeowners.
Tariffs for heat and electricity may grow in a new heating season. It will be a good reason to start changing ourselves and change the house in which we live.
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